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JOINT STAKEHOLDERS DISCUSS HOUSEHOLD WATER TREATMENT, STRATEGY IN GHANA

1 Jun

By Ernest K. Chanani

Joint multi-stakeholders and Professionals in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector have met in Accra to discuss the way forward for successful Household Water Treatment and Storage (HWTS) in the country.

The WASH Resource Centre Network (RCN) in collaboration with Local Government and Rural Development Ministry (MLGRD), Water Resources Works and Housing Ministry (MWRWH) has held the 26TH National Level Learning Alliance Platform (NLLAP) on the Theme: “Household Water Treatment Storage Strategy in Ghana.”

The objective of the meeting was to share and disseminate the HWTS Strategy Document. NLLAP is a WASH sector multi stakeholder platform with overall goal of improving sector learning and dialogue.

The EHSD-MLGRD in collaboration with UNICEF Ghana led the discussions.

A number of stakeholder concerns were raised which included Management Plan, Monitoring and Evaluation, and overall recommendations. Adopting approaches to hygiene promotion covering social life was very important to discussants.

During lively discussions and opinion sharing, participants made suggestions and recommendations. On the issue of rain water harvesting, participants contended among other issues that even though President Mills pledged in his Statement of the Nation’s Address to take a critical look at it, much has not been achieved.

Mr. Fredrick Addai, Director, WD-MWRWH noted that there was the need to develop a detailed scope in the scheme of things which include Situation Analyses, Prioritizing Behaviours, Behaviour Analyses, Strategic Approach and also bearing in mind the necessary tools and strategy.

In terms of strategic approach to HWTS, Mr. Naa Lenason Demedeme, AG Director, EHSD-MLGRD stressed the need for a strategy which should be combined with creating an enabling environment, encompassing appropriate and advocacy including capacity building and sustained financing scheme.

RCN Ghana is a network of institutional partners seeking to promote Knowledge Management in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector in Ghana. The vision is a dynamic knowledge-driven WASH sector providing improved and sustainable pro-poor services.

 GHANA NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR HOUSEHOLD WATER TREATMENT AND SAFE STORAGE

1. Background and Rationale

Unsafe drinking water, along with poor sanitation and hygiene, impose a heavy burden of disease in Ghana. Contaminated drinking water contributes to an estimated 10,000 deaths annually from diarrhea disease, the third largest killer of children under 5 years of age in Ghana. (JMP 2008).

The government of Ghana recognizes the essential role of safe water and sanitation in promoting health and development, and is committed to increase access to safe water, especially among rural populations, the urban poor, those affected by floods and other emergencies, and those living in remote areas. This commitment needs to be reflected in the National Water policy, the National Sanitation policy and the Community Water and Sanitation Strategic plan, all of which aim to advocate for a demand-responsive approach to establish the link between water and health.

The Ministry of Water Resources,Works and Housing and Ministry of local government are designated as the lead Ministries for coordinating the implementation of water supply and sanitation respectively.  Other key ministries involved in the promotion of health through safe drinking water, include the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service among others.

Ghana has made significant progress in extending the coverage of improved water sources, with an estimated 93% of urban populations and 76.6% of rural dwellers having access to ―improved water supplies‖ according to JMP (2008).

However, while most urban dwellers have household connections, the main water supply for rural

populations are wells, rainwater collection systems, dug outs and surface sources (rivers or streams). Water quality monitoring suggests that water supplies in Ghana rarely meet national standards for drinking water quality, especially for sources used predominantly by rural populations.

 Providing safe, reliable, potable water to every household is an essential goal, yielding optimal health gains while contributing to the MDG targets for poverty reduction, nutrition, childhood survival, school attendance, gender equity and environmental sustainability. While committed strongly to this goal and to incremental improvements in water supplies wherever possible, the Government of Ghana together with

development partners, private sector, NGOs and others have called for interim approaches through Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) that will accelerate the heath gains associated with safe drinking water for those whose water supplies are unsafe.

Interventions to treat and maintain the microbial quality of water at the household levels are among the most promising of these approaches. This is particularly true in settings, Outreach and Coverage of Services and Products.

Collaborations between government institutions, particularly ministries and nongovernmental

organizations, are good examples of public-private partnership. For purposes of  this strategy, public-private partnership (PPP) is seen as a as the means to bring together a set of actors for the common goal of improving the wellbeing of a population through mutually agreed roles and principles that appears more appropriate to promote household water treatment and safe storage.

3. Commercial/Business approach

A commercial approach, unlike nonprofit programs, which rely on external grants and subsidies, commercial ventures sell goods at prices that cover all of their costs—making the approach inherently more sustainable. The potential for profits also creates an incentive for more companies to enter the HWTS market.

These companies may compete for market share by reducing prices, improving the quality of their products, developing innovative technologies, and heavily promoting their products. All of these strategies may tend to heighten public interest in sales of HWTS products. With more companies manufacturing HWTS products, it may also be easier to improve production and distribution, reach different geographic areas and serve diverse market segments.

Guiding Principles: 

 The strategies and actions taken under the National HWTS strategy will be governed by the following principles: Health is the primary driver of all HWTS initiatives undertaken within the

framework of the national strategy for HWTS. Any program or project involving HWTS will be considered and evaluated on the basis of its contribution to health.

As a matter of priority, HWTS initiatives should target populations that do not currently practice effective HWTS on a correct and consistent basis.

HWTS products and technologies should be introduced in Ghana only after they have been shown to be safe and effective. Wherever possible, householders should also be given choices in HWTS options that meet national standards, and sufficient information on which to make informed choices.

Consistent with national strategies and target programs, HWTS initiatives should follow a demand-response approach, with users deciding from a range of certified methods, products and technologies, with users paying the cost.

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Wipe Out Polio, Now — By Ban Ki-moon

15 May

Accra, May 15, 2012

Wild viruses and wildfires have two things in common. If neglected, they can spread out of control. If handled properly, they can be stamped out for good.

Today, the flame of polio is near extinction — but sparks in three countries threaten to ignite a global blaze. Now is the moment to act.

During the next two weeks, on two continents, two events offer the chance for a breakthrough. First, the leaders of the world’s largest economies — the G8 — congregate at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David in rural Maryland. A week later, the world’s ministers of health convene in Geneva.

Together, they can push to deliver on an epic promise: to liberate humankind from one of the world’s most deadly and debilitating diseases.

The world’s war on polio, declared nearly a quarter of a century ago, was as ambitious an undertaking as the successful campaign to eradicate another great public health menace, smallpox. Slowly but surely, over the years, we have advanced on that goal.

Polio today survives in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. That’s the good news. The bad: we are in danger of falling victim to our own success.

Here’s why: the world is now populated by a generation which has either never been exposed to polio or has been inadequately vaccinated. When the virus strikes under those conditions, the impact can be devastating.

We saw that in the Republic of the Congo in 2010 and elsewhere in Africa when an outbreak killed half of all who were infected.

A prompt emergency response by the international community halted that budding epidemic. But the incident gives an idea of the potential consequences of failing to eradicate polio while we have the chance.

This year fewer than one hundred people were left paralyzed by this easily preventable disease, almost all in the three countries I have mentioned. Left unchecked, however, UN epidemiologists warn that a renewed outbreak could cripple as many as one million people within the decade, many of them children — the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.

This threat keeps me up at night because I know how easy it is to address. My wife and I have personally immunized toddlers in Asia and Africa, joining tens of millions of government workers, Rotarian’s, volunteers, political and religious leaders (not to mention parents) who have worked for decades to ensure that every child is protected.

Most recently, we visited India, which just two years ago was home to half of all the world’s children with polio. Now, thanks to a concerted drive, we were able to celebrate India’s first polio-free year in history.

Similar efforts are under way in the three remaining polio-endemic countries. President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani of Pakistan and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan each personally oversee their national response.

Nigeria has committed funds from its own treasury, and polio eradication in all three countries depends heavily on government resources.

But that in itself is not enough. With a determined push, the international community can wipe out polio once and for all. To do so, however, it must organize — and commit the required financial resources.

PRESS RELEASE: UNAIDS launches “Believe it. Do it.” action campaign For HIV infections among children by 2015

9 May

 GENEVA, 8 May 2012

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today launched a new campaign, “Believe it. Do it., aimed at bringing attention and action to the global goal of ending new HIV infections among children by 2015 and ensuring mothers living with HIV remain healthy.

Each year, about 390 000 children become newly infected with HIV and as many as 42 000 women living with HIV die from complications relating to HIV and pregnancy. In 2011, world leaders at the United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS committed to ending new HIV infections among children by 2015 and saving mothers’ lives. A bold new global plan was adopted and action is underway.

“We have an amazing opportunity to change the world,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We have the commitment of world leaders but the clock is ticking and we cannot get from 390 000 to zero without you.”

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassadors Naomi Watts and Annie Lennox are among the personalities adding their voices and commitment to “Believe it. Do it.” In addition, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Whoopi Goldberg joined Blair Underwood, Denis O’Hare, Alexandra Wentworth, George Stephanopoulos and Sujean Rim to create a public service announcement for the campaign with the message “I believe children everywhere can be born free from HIV—Believe it. Do it.”

Under the premise that ‘every day is Mother’s Day!’ UNAIDS also teamed up with artist Sujean Rim to create a series of e-cards celebrating families. Through public service announcements, an interactive web site and social media outreach, the campaign asks the public to take three simple actions:

Get the facts about ending new HIV infections among children

Send a message about the issue and the actions people can all take

Support a mother through one of the great organizations working with families

The campaign will be featured ahead of Mother’s Day on 11 May on the American morning television show Good Morning America and the 30-second public service announcement will appear on CNN International, CNN Domestic (U.S. market) as well as other media outlets.

For more information visit http://www.unaids.org/believeitdoit/

Contact UNAIDS Geneva | Sophie Barton-Knott | tel. +41 22 791 1697 | bartonknotts@unaids.org

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, is an innovative United Nations partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Learn more at unaids.org.

High Incidents of Death amongst HIV positive teachers affect quality of Education

27 Apr

Accra, Ghana, April 24, 2012

 High incidents of death amongst HIV positive teachers could further worsen the teacher-pupil ratio and thereby weaken the educational system in sub-Saharan Africa. Like all members of the population, teachers are susceptible to HIV. In countries with high HIV infection rates, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa, this susceptibility is increasingly noticeable. Failure to address this situation would result in poor quality of education and also impede efforts to achieve the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This has necessitated the meeting in Accra (April 24-26) of representatives of existing national associations of teachers infected and affected by HIV in WCA, HIV focal points of the Ministries of Education, teachers’ unions and key national and international stakeholders from about 12 countries. They are addressing challenges with the aim of strengthening teachers’ role in contributing to prevention efforts in the region and to ensure that teachers living with HIV can be supported through effective policies and programmes, protecting them from HIV-related stigma and discrimination as well as ensuring access to prevention and care.

According to UNESCO, the meeting is the result of the strong partnership established between Ministries of Education, UNESCO, ILO, the World Bank, UNAIDS, WHO, Education International, and Partnership for Child Development.

It is also critical to note the importance of sexuality education in HIV prevention among young people. It may not only provide value for money but, in some cases, major cost savings regarding the cost and cost-effectiveness of school-based sexuality education. Participants will exchange ideas and identify common key elements to improve coordination, advocacy and networking and strengthen links between Ministries of Education, Teacher Unions and Networks of positive teachers, a statement from the Ministry of Education indicated.

Expected output of the three-day workshop outcomes include a plan of action highlighting areas of work between teachers’ unions, MoE and HIV positive teachers’ associations, an agreement around the development of a policy framework on HIV and AIDS in the education sector to reflect R200 and protecting the rights of teachers infected and affected by HIV and AIDS and the creation of a sub-regional network of associations of teachers living with HIV and AIDS.

Cynthia Prah UN Information, Accra

Carl Ampah UNESCO Ghana

WaterAid Releases New Report

19 Apr

Liberia: Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

By: WASH R&E-Liberia

An International Aid Agency, “WaterAid” has released a new report in which it says the lives of 3,783 children could be saved in Sierra Leone if it met its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of people without safe sanitation by 2015.

Mr. Apollos Nwafor, WaterAid Team Leader for Liberia Sierra Leone

The report, “Saving Lives”, reveals that Sierra Leone is one of 57 countries currently most off-track to meet its sanitation MDG target. On current trends Sierra Leone is due to halve the proportion of people lacking sanitation by 2435, missing the MDG sanitation target by 420 years.

According to the latest figures released by UNICEF and the WHO, only 13% of the population has access to safe sanitation. The MDG target for Sierra Leone is for 56% to have access for improved sanitation by 2015.

According to the Country Representative of WaterAid in Sierra Leone, Apollos Nwafor, by meeting the Millennium Development Goal target on sanitation by 2015, they can save the lives of nearly four thousand children in Sierra Leone, noting that they need to do more to save these lives.

The report comes as 70 ministers from governments around the world attend the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting on the 20th of April, 2012 in Washington DC, the United States of America.

Mr. Nwafor further said the Washington Meeting is crucial to turning the corner on providing essential life saving access to safe water and sanitation. He called on the government and the international community to grasp the opportunity and act in response to the crisis of lost lives

The WaterAid report also says that the lives of 2.5 million people around the world would be saved if everyone had access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

The report concludes that there are more people in the world today without sanitation than there were in 1990, and “the poor quality of sanitation and lack of access to safe drinking water causes 1.4 million child deaths every year due to diarrhoea, and that present deaths are preventable”.

Diarrhoea caused by unsafe drinking water and a lack of quality sanitation is the biggest killer of children under the age of five in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the second biggest killer of children worldwide.

The Sanitation and Water for All meeting in Washington on 20th April brings together 100 ministers and delegates from over 50 countries to discuss the water and sanitation crisis. Participating governments have to bring pledges to the table on increasing access to water and sanitation for the next two years; donor governments also have to provide commitments ahead of the meeting.

The meeting is part of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings and brings together governments, NGOs, the private sector and civil society.

WaterAid is an international aid agency that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world’s poorest communities. The Organization works with partners and influence decision-makers to maximize our impact.

WASH Civil Society ENDs General Assembly

19 Apr

LIBERIA:Monday, April 16th, 2012

  1. …Network Established, New Leadership Elected – By: WASH R&E Network-Liberia –
  2. Civil Society Organizations across Liberia involved in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector of the Country, have ended their first General Assembly in Monrovia with the adoption of several recommendations and measures including the change of name from the Liberia CSOs WASH Working Group to the Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network.

One of the working sessions of the 1st General Assembly of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, held in the conference room of the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (April 10-12, 2012), in Monrovia Liberia CSOs WASH Network newly elected Officials reiterating their commitments for WASH, while being installed by Mr. Samuel Pieh, Coordinator of the Liberia WASH Consortium

Mr. Prince D. Kreplah, Chairman of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, delivering his induction speech during the ceremony

Mr. Samuel Pieh(right), Coordinator of the Liberia WASH Consortium Discussing WASH issues with Mr. Apollos Nwafor, WaterAid Team leader of Liberia and Sierra Leone

The Network is to lead a sustained advocacy in the WASH sector of Liberia and provide support to the poor, marginalized and vulnerable people to access safe drinking water, improved sanitation and good hygiene by using human rights based approach.

The newly established Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network says it will engage government, development partners and other relevant national, international and county level stakeholders to ensure that service delivery in the sector is truly improved.

The three-day 1st General Assembly of the WASH CSOs which was held at the Central Offices of the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia also adopted a 3-year Strategic Plan to serve as a road map for the implementation of the Network’s policies and activities.

The official launch of the Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network was performed by Mr. Apollos Nwafor, Team Leader of WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Nwafor reminded the WASH Civil Society Organizations of their role in holding government and other WASH stakeholders accountable of ensuring access to water, sanitation and hygiene across Liberia.

He reiterated his Organization’s commitment to the support of the Network which has already started through an existing partnership.

For his part, Mr. Samuel Pieh, Coordinator of the Liberia WASH Consortium performed the induction of the newly elected Officers of the Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network.

Mr. Pieh challenged the new WASH Civil Society Leaders to remain focused in their quest of advancing improvements in the sector in the interest of the Nation and people, especially the less-fortunate in society.

He also challenged members of the newly established Liberia CSOs WASH Network to remain supportive of initiatives, advocacy and education to ensure all Liberians and foreign residents have access to WASH.

Mr. Pieh said the level of dynamism being exhibited by the CSOs in the WASH Sector is an indication that the Group is committed to ensure that there is improved access, quality to water, sanitation and hygiene for all in Liberia.

Mr. Pieh also used the occasion to remind the Network members how important and critical the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene is, describing it as the life wire of any economic development and the foundation of good health including tourism.

The Liberia WASH Consortium Coordinator commended members of the newly established Network for the positive step taken.

In remarks, the Chairman of the Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network , Prince D. Kreplah, said the holding of the 1st General Assembly is in fulfillment of the tenants of democracy which guarantees participation in decision making.

Mr. Kreplah further said the Assembly created the space for members to usher in a new leadership of their choice and it also identified the weakness and strength of the Group.

He said the transformation of the Liberia CSOs WASH Working Group into a full Network is part of the steps leading to the decentralization of its activities, expansion of membership and it will enhance the quest to achieve its mission, vision and objectives.

The Liberia CSOs WASH Network Chairman described as critical, the needs of the population which include revitalization and rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities, construction and maintenance of water points, latrines and creating massive awareness to increase the understanding of the masses, stressing that they will be top on his agenda.

Mr. Kreplah further disclosed that the Network has strategized using rights based approach to engage and lobby President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, “WASH Goodwill Ambassador for Africa” and her government especially lines Ministries, Public Corporations and the National Legislature to accelerate action with the goal of ensuring that the population access safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities with strong emphasis on vulnerable groups and hard to reach communities.

“The new Leadership with support from broad based Membership will lobby the 53rd National Legislature of Liberia for the establishment of a Standing Committee on water and sanitation in both Houses that will provide oversight on the sector and issues”, Kreplah pointedout.

The newly elected officials to steer the affairs of the Network for the next three years are Mr. Prince D. Kreplah of the Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia as Chairman, Mr. Augustine N. Myers of the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, as Co-Chairman, and Mr. A. Saydee Monboe of the Liberia NGOs Network, as Secretary General. Others include Miss Nelly Attidigah of the Liberia Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia, and Rev. Isaac Kamara of the Bomi Chapter of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network as Steering Committee Members, respectively.

The Liberia CSOs WASH Working Group was established in 2009 with the purpose of bringing water, sanitation and hygiene needs of the population of Liberia to the center of national development planning and agenda setting.

With three years of existence, the Organization in collaboration with partners has succeeded in influencing the government and development partners to take serious action aimed at addressing the water and sanitation needs of the population.

The close of the first General Assembly also witnessed the signing of a Memoranda of Understanding between the Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network and Plan Liberia.