Cleanliness, they say, is next to Godliness. One would have expected, therefore, that for a nation like Ghana which has over 90% of its population claiming to be servants of God (Allah), maintenance of good sanitation practices would have been one of its most cherished taglines. But the obvious irony is that the Godly nation has turned out to be, if not the dirtiest, one of same in Africa.
I hold no divergent view with those who assert that if Ghanaians took measures to effect attitudinal change, situations such as killer floodings and outbreak of diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, malaria and so on and so forth, would not feature in the list of the nation’s major problems; for these are the aftermaths of poor sanitation practices. It is, indeed, mind-boggling to hear mention of the huge financial commitment dedicated towards addressing a problem that would, otherwise, have required a common change in attitude to lay to rest. President Akufo-Addo could, therefore, not have said it any better when he said that he would not waste money on a problem whose solution requires no more than an attitudinal change. Indeed, practices such as indiscriminate dumping of waste and creation of filth can only be blamed on nothing but poor attitude.
It is in furtherance of the course to help address this daunting menace of filth that the Assistant Director in charge of Supervision (AD Supervision) at the East Akim Municipal Directorate of Education, Mr. Emmanuel Amoh has, in collaboration with other partners, inaugurated a body whose main task would be to tackle the canker through the establishment of sanitation clubs in basic schools across Ghana. Community Protection Group as it is called, the group also has the intention to propagate at funeral gatherings, churches and other pubic gatherings its good news of attitudinal change towards sanitation, with the view to ridding the nation of filth. Even though the aforementioned group is set to start its work at the Abuakwa North and South Municipalities, its ultimate intention is to cover the whole nation with the good news. One major challenge confronting the group, however, is financial constraint. The group is, therefore, calling on sponsors to come to its aid in order to help it successfully carry out its modus operandi.
The programme which was held on Wednesday, 24th July, 2019 at Kibi in the East Akim Municipality of the Eastern region, and witnessed a massive turnout of teachers and students drawn from various basic schools across the aforementioned municipality, also had in attendance the newly installed Abontendomhene of Kibi, Osabarima Marfo Kwabrane who doubled as Chairman for the occasion. Other attendees were a representative of Hon. Kojo Ofori-Sarfo, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the newly created Abuakwa South Municipality, and a representative of Madam Grace Owusua Addo, East Akim Municipal Director of Education.
In a speech read on her behalf, Madam Owusua Addo lauded the efforts of those at the forefront of this struggle noting that issues of environmental cleanliness and good sanitation practices should be of a great concern to all well-meaning citizens of Ghana. According to her, the effects of poor sanitation practices cannot be measured by any stretch of imagination, neither can it be quantified in monetary terms. The Education Director was full of applause for President Akufo-Addo for the singular statement of his unwillingness to spend money on a problem that would rather require attitudinal change to address.
The Abuakwa South Municipal Environmental Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Boamah, in a message delivered for the MCE of the above-named municipality, admonished, especially, the students gathered to endeavour to exhibit good attitudes towards ensuring good sanitation and refrain from those negative attitudes which they have not been taught in school.
Addressing the gathering, the AD Supervision of the East Akim Municipal Education Directorate and Co-ordinator for the group, Mr. Emmanuel Amoh catalogued various measures taken by successive governments to solve the problem of poor sanitation. The measures, which he noted, have not yielded the desired result were mentioned as follows:
- A national sanitation day on the 1st of November, every year,
- First Saturday of every month observed as national sanitation day, and
- The observation of everyday as sanitation day
He expressed surprise why, even though the above measures have been put in place, poor sanitation still remains an albatross hanging on the country’s neck. The astute educationist bemoaned why the attitudes of seemingly decent, civilized, good looking and well dressed people in society (who should have known better), is no different when it comes to the creation of filth. He called for a change in attitude – adding that the effects of poor sanitation have no respect for age or political colour. The motto of the Community Protection Group is “Healthy People, Healthy Nation.”
We only hope that these efforts would yield the needed results.
Felix Nyarko Acheampong reports for ghanaeducate.com.