ALARMING: Nearly half a million urban households in Ghana practice open defecation

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Nearly half a million urban households in Ghana practice open defecation

Startling statistics have emerged from the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) General Report on Water and Sanitation, revealing that almost half a million urban households in Ghana do not have access to toilet facilities and are engaged in , with an additional 1.3 million relying on public toilet facilities.

The report, released by the to mark International Cities Day, has raised concerns about sanitation and access to clean water in urban areas across the country.

In specific regions, the situation is dire, with over half of urban households practicing in the (54.0 percent) and (51.9 percent) regions, more than five times the national urban average of 8.9 percent. Six regions in total have more than 20.0 percent of urban households practicing open defecation.

Furthermore, the report highlighted that one in every four households (27.7 percent) in urban areas do not have their main source of drinking water on their premises, which translates to 1.4 million urban households without access to water on their premises. Some households are compelled to travel more than 30 minutes to access their main source of drinking water and return.

Alarming figures also pointed to the usage of unimproved sources of drinking water, with 112,031 households in urban areas across the nation using such sources, defined as those inadequately protected from outside contamination. In the Region, this percentage reached 24.0 percent, over ten times the national urban average of 2.2 percent.

Moreover, the report revealed that more than a quarter of a million households in urban areas (316,116) were residing in uncompleted buildings (79,721) or unconventional structures (236,395). Unconventional structures included wooden structures (143,261), kiosks or poly kiosks (78,016), or metal containers (15,118).

In the Greater Region, one in every ten households (11.9 percent) was living in uncompleted buildings or unconventional structures. The other fifteen regions reported percentages below the national urban average of 5.4 percent.

International Cities Day, observed on October 31, aims to raise awareness of the challenges confronting urban areas.

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