A 2017 survey has established that some sachet water products sold in Ghana are contaminated with faecal matter, raising questions about the regulation of the product in Ghana. Interestingly, data gathered from the 2021 Populations and Housing Census (PHC) has established that Ghanaians are increasingly depending on sachet water as their main source of drinking water.
Per data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the sachet water national consumption average in Ghana has ballooned from about seven million (31.7% ) in 2010 to over eleven million in 2021, representing 37.4% in 2021.
The GSS reports that as high as 71% of the population of Greater Accra was depending on sachet water. The Greater Accra, Western, Central, Eastern and Ashanti regions have surpassed the national average of sachet water usage, which is 37.4%, as the other regions inch closer to the abovementioned regions.
These startling revelations were made known by Dr. Peter Takyi Preprah, Director for Field Operations of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), during a presentation on the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) Data on Basic Sanitation in Ghana.
Organised by the Ministry of Sanitation and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GKMA-SWP), in collaboration with the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council and the Resources Centre Network (RCN), it aims to deepen the understanding of the most recent data on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Ghana from 2021 PHC to facilitate sector learning.
“From [a] 2017 survey, a reasonable percentage of even sachet water has E coli, thus faecal contamination. It is scary so let’s read the books and see how best we can put all of them together and find solution to them.”
During his presentation, Dr. Takyi Preprah, stated that even though the North-East Region was the least on regional pairings, the situation could change ten years later, as they would also be drinking more sachet water.
“Are we just sitting there and enjoying it or we are collaborating with the Food and Drugs Authority to monitor those producing this type of water for us to drink to ensure that they follow the right standards and methods so that we embark on water quality testing. Maybe every three months or six months to ensure that the water is free from E-coli,” he said.
“Now that majority of us are patronizing sachet water, what can we do, health-wise, so that we do not get sick, because sometimes when they produce it and it runs under the sun for some time, you pick it; you shake it, and you see some particles in it,” he added.
The Director of Field Operations at the GSS said at the event that: “If you look at urban and rural disparity, those in the urban areas are enjoying sachet water most, so if there is any outbreak, it will affect urban dwellers than those in the rural areas,” a trend, he opined, was reminding Ghanaians to pay attention to these kinds water.
Touching on basic water statistics, Dr. Preprah disclosed that it was high for Greater Accra, recording 97%, and 94.5% for the Ashanti Region, with the Savanah and North-east being the highest regions relying on unimproved source of water, which he termed as “Reds”.
On the state of quality water in Ghana, the GSS official said: “Ten out of 261 districts are with worse situation when it comes to unimproved drinking water sources, and Savanah Region, North-East Gonja having about 96.7% of the people relying on unimproved water source.”
In a presentation by Ing Fiifi Boadi, Senior Public Health Engineer at the GSS, he explained that, open defecation was on a decline in Ghana, except some four regions that were unable to reduce the menace.
According to Ing Boadi, in 2010, Oti recorded less than 40% on open defecation, but in 2021, it had yielded above 41%, calling for the need to pay some attention to the region.
On Bono East, he disclosed that it recorded 33%-36% in open defecation, a development he labeled as descriptive and which calls for attention as to why the region was retrogressing and not progressing. He said: “Bono Region had 10%-11% , with Ahafo recording 7%.”
These areas, according to Fiifi, said to be the Bono Ahafo and Oti regions, which had been delineated from the Volta Region.
He asked: “What is happening in these areas, which are middle belt? As a sector player, most of our projects are in the southern or middle belt. We are neglecting our middle belt, and it is about time we pay attention, so that once the middle belt becomes a serious catastrophe, migrating into both north and south is very plausible.”
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