Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are facing a challenge with access to sanitation (toilet) facilities in health infrastructure constructed in the Asutifi North and Wassa East districts, a study has revealed.
Per the study commissioned by Water Aid, Ghana, only 10.5 per cent of toilets are mobility friendly in Asutifi North in the Ahafo Region, while that of the Wassa East District in the Western Region, is eight per cent.
The Consultant for Stronghold Consult, Richard Amaning, who presented the findings of the study, said the problem was with access to such facilities by persons with disability.
They included the lack of hand railings, ramps and space for wheel chair.
The Disability Act, 2006 enjoins institutions or individuals that provide public services to put in place the necessary facilities that make the service available and accessible to a person with a disability.
The study by Water Aid forms part of a project on Strengthening Systems for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities.
It focused on health care facilities data gathering in the Asutifi North and Wassa East districts and was done between May and July this year.
It applied the census approach to selecting healthcare facilities and a total of 50 operational health care facilities comprising of 22 in the Asutifi North District and 28 in the Wassa East District were assessed.
The report, according to Mr Amaning, indicated that 53.6 per cent of healthcare facilities in Wassa East lacked basic sanitation service, while 27.8 per cent of facilities in Asutifi North had no sanitation service.
“In terms of sanitation service, we all know that one of the areas in terms of WASH we are battling is sanitation,” he said, adding that “at the health care facilities, 17.9 per cent of the 28 facilities assessed in Wassa East had basic service – it means that they have toilets accessible for patients and staff use that were working at the time of the visit”.
However, he said 53.6 per cent in the district had limited services with 28.6 per cent of workers engaging in open defecation.
Mr Amaning said the Sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Health Care Facilities was a project designed to strengthen WASH and health systems, accelerating the coverage of reliable access to safer water and affordable, inclusive and sustainable WASH services within health facilities in the country.
A key objective of the project, he said was to develop the evidence base around WASH in health facilities to inform policy and practice and to advocate for prioritisation of WASH access in the facilities.
The scope of the data gathering was limited to public, mission and private health care facilities in the two districts.
The acting Programmes Manager of Water Aid, Ghana, Seyram Ama Asimah, said the aims of the project; Strengthening Systems for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Health Care Facilities was to generate evidence for advocacy and also to build the capacity of civil society organisations to advocate with the evidence that had been generated.
She said the project had a number of activities that included a baseline survey and situational analysis done, budget tracking in the areas of WASH in health care facilities and the development of advocacy strategy to guide civil society organisations in the districts.
The Asutifi North District Chief Executive, Anthony Mensah said the assembly had a master plan that contained activities of WASH.
He said the district had positioned itself such that partners had the opportunity to access the master plan and pick areas they wanted to work in.
The Wassa East District Coordinator Director, Mark Andoh, prayed that the project would be expanded to cover schools and the general public.