The President, John Dramani Mahama, has directed all caretakers of public toilets in the country not to charge primary school children anytime they visited the facility.
He has also urged all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDA’s) to instil communal responsibility among residents by engaging them in regular clean-up exercises.
That, when done, he said would help in achieving the target of a clean Ghanaian society.
President Madama was addressing residents of Akoto Lante and Bukom in the Odododiodoo Constituency of the Accra Metropolis after a massive clean-up exercise in the community on Saturday.
He also participated in a similar exercise at Nima and visited the La General Hospital and the LEKMA Hospital at Teshie to observe the impact of the cholera outbreak.
Zoomlion Ghana Limited, a waste management company, provided cleaning tools such as wheelbarrows, hand gloves, wellington boots, rakes, brooms, and other protective gear for the exercise.
About the clean-up
The exercise was organised by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and other waste management companies.
It was also attended by Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Bani, Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Dr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije.
The clean-up comes on the heels of the outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country since June this year.
Currently about 9,000 cases of cholera have been reported with over 85 deaths in 46 districts in the county, putting enormous stress on health facilities. Consequently, a number of health facilities now feel reluctant to accommodate cholera patients.
Situation not acceptable
President Mahama said it was unacceptable that in a 21st Century, cholera would be attacking people and killing as many as 85 in the country.
He recalled that during the years of the Rawlings-led revolution, a day in every week was dedicated for clean-up exercises in various communities.
“But now that tradition is not there and we need to bring it back so that if we cannot do it once a week, we could clean once a month so that everyone will get involved in developing the country,” he said.
He said during those clean-up days, no shop should be opened and everyone should unite in the effort of keeping the environment clean.
He, therefore, urged the district assemblies to deliberate among themselves and allocate a day for the clean-up exercise.
Wash hands regularly
President Mahama said it was important to regularly wash hands with soap and water in order not to get affected by cholera.
He also thanked the residents as well as members of the sanitation agencies for coming out in their numbers to clean the environment and advised them to visit the hospital as soon as they experience symptoms of the disease, adding that it was only when they got to the hospital early that they could be saved.
President Mahama said in the coming weeks, free garbage bins would be distributed to all households. “Every household would be given a free waste bin so that you do not put the rubbish in the gutters,” he said.
Meeting with authorities of the La General Hospital, President Mahama lauded the effort of the authorities in treating patients. He said curbing the cholera outbreak meant a lot of public education and the need for people to observe basic hygiene by washing their hands regularly.
For her part, the Greater Accra Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Linda Van-Otoo said the disease had impacted negatively on minors and women and appealed to government to support them to contain it.
She said the outbreak of the disease was due partly to the rampant buying of cooked food instead of cooking at home and encouraged parents to endeavour to cook for their families.
Source: Graphic Online