WASH in communities
Ghana has made significant progress providing access to improved water sources to 80% of the population and eliminating Guinea worm from the country (awaiting certification in 2014). However, despite these successes, about 4,000 Ghanaian children die each year from diarrhea, even more die from pneumonia, and about 23% of Ghanaian children suffer from stunting (chronic malnutrition linked to poor water and sanitation). Five million Ghanaians still use wa ter from unsafe sources.
Water and sanitation can reduce deaths
Handwashing can reduce diarrhea and pneumonia by up to 50%, yet less than 15% of Ghanaian households have handwashing facilities. Improved sanitation can reduce diarrhea rates by 36%, but only 15% of Ghanaians have access to improved sanitation, well short of the 2015 goal of 54%. One in five Ghanaians have no access to a toilet and defecate in the open, with open defecation rates over 70% in Northern Ghana, reflecting significant national inequalities.
UNICEF’s rights-based approach to water, sanitation and hygiene addresses these challenges through support to the Government of Ghana for both on-ground interventions and the creation of an enabling environment.