By Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, July 25, GNA – The Media Coalition Against Open Defaecation (M-CODe) and the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) on Thursday inspected new toilet facilities constructed for schools under the GAMA toilet project.
The inspection, conducted in schools within the La-Nkwantanang Madina and Ga East Municipal Assemblies, was also to ensure that the facilities served the needs of the schools. It was also to ensure that the facilities were properly maintained to prolong its usefulness and put a total halt to open defecation.
The schools toured included the Madina SDA School, the Queen of Peace “A and B” Basic Schools in Madina, the WASS Junior High School (JHS) in Adenta and the Abokobi Presby One Basic School.
The team observed that all the schools had janitors, hired to keep the facilities in good shape, however some of the school administrators were not happy with their numbers.
They said the schools were constrained by the non-availability of funds to engage more janitors.
Mr Joseph Quacoe, the Municipal Environmental Health Officer of the La Nkwantanang Municipal Assembly said it was unfortunate to see people still practicing open defecation after all the comprehensive education and enforcement of the law against the practice in the Municipality.
Mr Quacoe, who is also the GAMA Coordinator, said an assessment by GAMA in 2015 showed that about only 45 per cent of households in the Municipality had toilet facilities, however, the percentage had risen to 61 currently, which was a positive sign.
He said some perpetrators of open defecation, who were sentenced to some few months’ imprisonment, and were released, had resorted to the old practice, and therefore they had proposed a hard communal labour sentence for such offenders as punishment.
Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, the Patron of M-CODe said she was happy that steps had been taken to eliminate open defecation in many schools.
She, however, said the problem identified in most of the schools during the inspection was the poor maintenance culture.
Dr Dartey expressed concern about how the state of the facilities would be in the next few years, “if within a year of its construction, maintenance was that far from expectation”.
Ms Rhoda Dabinla, the Head teacher of the Queen of Peace R/C Basic School said the School had 12 toilet facilities, which were inadequate for the over 1,000 student population.
Mr Samuel Kolbila, the Headteacher of WASS Experimental JHS said the facility in his School was helpful and encouraged the students to be punctual in school especially those who do not have toilet facilities at home.
Mr Siaw Kwakye, the Headmaster of the “Abokobi Presby 1 Basic School” said the School was thankful for the facility which was serving the over 800 student population.
He said open defecation had been totally eliminated in the school, the only problem they had, was non-availability of funds to hire more janitors to clean up the facility.
He said one challenge was the non-compliance by some parents to pay GHC5.00 per child to enable the School to maintain the facility, after the decision had been agreed by the Parent Teacher Association.
Madam Beatrice Opoku, the Head teacher of the Madina SDA JHS said her School had a total population of 900 students and the 21-toilet facility constructed for them was meeting their needs.
The School, she said, had set up a committee of teachers and students to monitor and ensure that the facility was well maintained.