Residents of the Shai Osudoku Constituency in the Greater Accra Region came out in their numbers to participate in the monthly National Sanitation Day (NSD) exercise last Saturday.
By 7.30 a.m. market women from the Dodowa Market, with support from workers of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, had swept almost the entire market, and there was little to be done when the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda, and his entourage arrived at the market.
The exercise was led by the Divisional Chief of Agomeda and the Paramount Chief of the Shai Traditional Area, Nene Nagai Kassa VIII, with support from the Chief of Ayikuma, Nene Nartey Asafuajei Ahujaga III, the Chief of Dodowa, Nene Okukrubuo Teikwesi Agyemang, the Ghana Police Service (GPS), the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the National Ambulance Service (NAS), and the Information Services Department (ISD).
The story was no different at the Shai Osudoku District Hospital at Ayikuma, where residents were seen clearing weeds in front of the hospital.
Addressing the residents of Agomeda, Nene Kassa vii said before the NSD was instituted by the government, residents in the community had been organising regular clean-up exercises.
To that effect, he said the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) in 1997, rewarded Agomeda with the Clean Village of the Year award.
He stated that, the residents would continue with the monthly exercise, which fortunately was embedded in their traditions, in order to achieve the purpose of the NSD exercise.
“It is a cultural practice that everybody cleans their environment every morning and sometimes in the afternoon because we don’t want to be ill to go to the hospital, we want to maintain our health and guard ourselves against any disease,” he said.
He also advised the general public to view the NSD exercise as a personal responsibility rather than a national task.
Alhaji Dauda lauded the residents and was impressed with the number that turned out for the excercise to exhibit the intent of the monthly exercise.
He, appealed to other residents in the various metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDA) to come out in their numbers to undertake the exercise.
“ I encourage everybody to come out and clean not only on sanitation days but on any day that it is possible for any community to undertake a clean-up exercise,” he said.
Chiefs must lead
Alhaji Dauda also mentioned that since the NSD started in 2014, following the outbreak of cholera in Accra that claimed about 200 lives, the situation had immensely improved and that only one case of cholera had so far been recorded this year.
That, he said, meant that if the NSD was continued, it would not only help to reduce cholera but also deal with other illnesses caused by insanitary conditions.
He also urged the chiefs to continue to lead the exercise, saying, “when the chiefs lead, the entire community comes out”.
We don’t chase waste
The District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Shai Osudoku District, Mr Emmanuel Odoi Anyemi Lartey, in his remarks, said clean-up exercises had been a regular feature in the district “ “because we have come to understand that if there is any outbreak of disease, it is not only going to affect people in Accra or elsewhere but people in this district as well.”