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International NGO launches campaign in Ghana to ensure access to clean and safe water

20th Feb 2015 An international non-profit organization, Water Aid Ghana has launched a campaign tagged Healthy Start, which is centered on bettering the health and nutrition of babies and children five years and below. In the next four years, the campaign is expected to contribute in the fight of reducing newborn and child morbidity and mortality in Ghana, mostly by increasing access to quality Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services.

The organization’s Representative in Ghana, Dr. Afia Zakiya, stated that poor hygiene practices and the absence of clean water and safe sanitation have been found to have a disastrous effect on the health and wellbeing of newborns and children, hence the interest of the group in these areas. She also referred available statistics which estimate that 19,000 Ghanaians, including 5,100 children less than five years, dye each year from diarrhea, mostly because of poor hygiene and unavailability of clean portable water.

Dr. Afia said that deaths could be really reduced and the health of children improved if attention was given to ensuring that health plans, policies, programmes and practices took the issues of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, commonly referred to as WASH as a key foundational element in public health systems, since access to clean water and safe sanitation are basic human rights, and when combined with good hygiene practices, constitute the essential tools for good health.

Dr Chaka Uzondu, the WASH and Health Focal Lead, WaterAid Ghana, added that the Organization believes this problem could be resolved if all healthcare facilities in Ghana, especially the maternity sections, ensure access to clean and adequate water as well as appropriate sanitation facilities as an urgent and critical matter. Dr Uzondu stated that WaterAid is dedicated to its mandate of impacting lives through improved access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s most poorest communities, including Ghana.

Dr. Uzondu also called for collaboration in various sectors and asked for a strong effort by government to involve WASH services in all plans to reduce under nutrition, acute malnutrition, preventable childhood diseases and newborn deaths.

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