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Men and women forced to share one toilet facility, resort to open defecation in Apegusu

Aprgusu2.png A picture of the toilet facility used by both men and women in the Apegusu community

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Correspondence from Eastern Region

The lack of toilet facilities in Apegusu in the Eastern Region has pushed men and women to share the same space in the only “functioning” toilet facility in the community as well as engage in open defecation.

Secretary to the Mankrado of the Akwamu Traditional Area in Apegusu, Charles Asare, disclosed this to GhanaWeb during an interview in the community.

The old dilapidated facility built in 1990 was closed down in 2012 after a new one was put up by the Asuogyaman District Assembly to replace the existing one.

“The toilet was built by the Asuogyaman District Assembly in 1990; now it has been abandoned, it is not in use, it is only one space for men and women so when they come they struggle,” the secretary elaborated.

The ‘new’ one sited only feet away from the old facility, was built in 2012 by the Assembly to replace the old facility.

Unfortunately, construction defects in the building has rendered the toilet unusable shortly after its opening, forcing its shutdown to save lives.

Mmrantehene of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Apegusu, Eric Opoku, lamented about the poor work done on the toilet facility, rendering it useless.

“This building was put up in 2012 and in fact when this one [the old one] collapsed, the District Assembly came and started this one. In fact, they didn’t do it well so when you go in, you’ll see cracks on the floor, because of that we couldn’t enter there or use it,” said the Mmrantehene.

Asked how the situation was affecting sanitation in the community, Mmrantehene Eric opoku said, “In fact, it is very poor. People resort to the bushes to ease themselves with others defecating into polythene bags, it is not good at all.”

With very few residents owning household toilets and no decent public place of convenience in the community, the residents have no option but to return to the old facility while others who find the place unpleasant, resort to unorthodox means of easing themselves.

The commencement of a 20-seater-toilet facility with washrooms initiated by Ghana First, a sanitation provider organization in 2017 across various districts and communities in the country including Apegusu to reduce the menace of open defecation, came to a standstill.

Speaking on the abandoned Ghana First toilet project in the community, Baffuor Akoto Adade, Fotosanfohene of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Apegusu told GhanaWeb said, “This facility was supposed to be our grace-land; unfortunately, it has been abandoned since 2017…to our surprise, the contractor just abandoned it and all efforts to bring him back to complete this project has been fruitless,” said the Fotosanfohene.

He was hopeful that completing the project would have addressed the sanitation challenges confronting the community.

Nana Dedey Akwei II, Mankrado of the Akwamu Adonten Traditional Area in Apegusu, bemoaned the lack of sanitation facilities in the community.

“There is no public toilet in the town for the majority of the people who don’t have toilet facilities. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, if you live in an environment where sanitation issues are bad, your sound mind does not reside in a sound body,” said the chief as he pleaded with the government to provide sanitation facilities for the community.

The opinion leaders said lack of toilet facilities is making living conditions unbearable in the community, adding that the District Assembly is yet to respond to an appeal to provide basic amenities in the community, especially toilet facilities.

They, therefore, called for prompt support from the government, philanthropists, and other stakeholders to help address the menace by providing them with modern toilet facilities to improve sanitation in the area.

Meanwhile, the Asuogyaman District Environmental Health and Sanitation Officer(DEHO), Madam Doris Acquah Apreku when contacted, said, building new community toilets was no longer the priority of the Assembly as it is moving towards the establishment of household facilities.

“There is no plan now for the Assembly to put up any public toilet in any community for now,” she disclosed. “The fact is we’re now interested in household toilets because the public toilets we’re giving them, maintenance is becoming a challenge…every individual needs to have a toilet in the house,” explained the DEHO.

Though she admitted that the response to the household toilet project was not encouraging due to the cost, Madam Acquah nevertheless urged the residents to contact the local Assembly for technical advice on how to establish their private places of convenience.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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