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Stop Open Defecation Now! Own a household latrine - UNICEF

ACCRA, Ghana 19 November 2016 – Today, we observe World Toilet Day with the theme “Stop Open Defecation Now. Own a Household Latrine”. Ghana has made some progress in ending open defecation, however, more needs to be done in providing equitable access to basic toilets, as well as behavior change programmes to ensure these toilets are used. This is crucial in ensuring the development of all children.

Ghana has made some progress in ending open defecation. Some communities, such as Avenorkope in the Volta Region and Afaw in the Central region, have made significant progress and have been officially declared as Open Defecation Free. However, more needs to be done in providing equitable access to basic toilets, as well as behavior change programmes to ensure these toilets are used.

While the open defecation perpetuates diseases such as cholera, which killed 247 people in 2014, access to household toilet facilities in the country remains limited to 18% of households in urban areas and to 9% in rural areas. This means that in Ghana, only 1 in 7 people of the population has access to such facilities. It’s also important to note that 2 out of 5 basic schools do not have toilets and that 3,600 Ghanaian children die every year from diarrhea as a result of this situation.

“A household latrine or toilet gives children an opportunity to grow up in a healthy environment, to go to school and to live with the dignity they deserve”, said UNICEF Ghana Representative, Susan Namondo Ngongi.

Throughout the year, UNICEF, with support from the Governments of Canada and The Netherlands, have been working to educate and sensitize Ghanaians on the menace of open defecation as well as providing sanitation facilities to over 300 schools and health facilities in the country. Innovative initiatives like “Let’s Talk Sh*t” - a platform where artists are given the rare opportunity to express open defecation through art in various forms - has helped to raise awareness on the issue. In addition, in August 2016, UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural development, awarded three journalists who dedicated their stories to educating their audience on open defecation.


UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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For further information, please contact:
Evelyn Offeibea Baddoo, Communication Officer (Accra)


Innocent Kafembe, Communication Officer (Tamale)




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