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Handwashing with water and soap is one of the cheapest, most effective things one can do to protect his or herself and others against coronavirus, as well as many other infectious diseases. Yet for billions, even this rudimentary step is simply out of reach.
40 per cent of the world’s population, do not have handwashing facilities with water and soap at home. Nearly three-quarters of the people in less developed countries lack basic handwashing facilities. In Ghana, more than five million people depend on surface water to meet their daily water needs, leaving them exposed to water-related illnesses. Further, 81 percent of Ghanaians lack access to improved sanitation. Therefore, for Ghana to be in a pole position to fight this pandemic, water must be a constant in that basic equation.
It is in this light that, Water for Rural Africa (WRA) wishes to applaud the government of Ghana for taking the initiative to absolve water tariffs for citizens for the next three months. Clearly, this will certainly cushion the citizenry at this trying time.
However, WRA wishes to draw the attention of government that, most Ghanaians are not connected to water supply directly from Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL). Most slum dwellers in the cities procure water from private retail point sources in their communities. We all know due to congestion in those areas, the fight against Covid-19 requires stronger efforts. Government must ensure that, private water retail providers allow the public to access water for free or perhaps with drastic reduction to support the slum dwellers to feel the impact of the intervention. If this is not enforced, the initiative will only impact the elites in the society who are mostly connected to GWCL or with mechanised borehole water supply at home.
Additionally, Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) is encouraged to keep up the good work and avoid going into water rationing at a time like this, since this will certainly defeat all the purpose of the president’s directive.
Pumps and pipes that are dysfunctional must be rehabilitated to expand water coverage.
Email: info@ waterforruralafrica.org
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