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Open Defecation widespread in Gomoa Dominase Onion Market and its environs

Inadequate Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in and around the Dominase Onion Market are to hampering businesses and livelihood according to traders and patrons of the newly unplanned market.

Open Defecation is said to be rife in the Gomoa Dominase Onion Market and its environs as there are not enough toilet and hygiene facilities to address the daily WASH need of the over One Thousand Five Hundred (1500) traders, drivers, mates, and head porters among others within the market enclave.

Open Defecation is also classified as one of the most dangerous unhealthy behaviours affecting the health, economic, social, and even religious lives of people.

The country, just like all other countries, aspires to provide access to toilets to all its citizens and end open defecation by 2030. However, Ghana has not been able to significantly change the proportion of its population that practices open defecation since 1990, when the open defecation rate was 22%, meaning that with the increase in population from about 12 million in 1990 to the current 32 million, the number of people engaged in it has rather increased in absolute terms.

The adverse health effects of OD are many: acute effects include infectious intestinal diseases, including diarrheal diseases which are exacerbated by poor water supplies, sanitation, and hygiene; adverse pregnancy outcomes; and life-threatening violence against women and girls, that’s is why we must all join forces with all stakeholders to sensitize the public against OD while encouraging policymakers to put in place measures to eliminate the problem.

The onion sellers were moved from Agbogbloshie, the hub of onion trade in Ghana for more than 20 years to their current location as part of efforts to decongest Accra,

Initially, all the onion traders were moved to Adjen Kotoku, off the Nsawam road in the Ga West Municipality in July 2021. However, for some of the onion traders, the huge numbers involved in the relocation resulted in congestion and frequent confrontation among traders.

It is in the light of this that those of them who hitherto commuted to and from Kasoa and its environs to Accra thought it wise to find an alternative land around the area to start an onion market.

The breakaway group identified a virgin land located in Gomoa Dominase, a town off the Kasoa-Takoradi Highway that could host their numbers and were fortunate their request was granted by the chief of the area.

However, a visit to the Gomoa Dominase Onion Market, on Tuesday, 31, May 2022 by some selected journalists and members of the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODe) revealed that even though the members of the Onion Sellers Association, without help from any quarters have been able to construct some market sheds to enhance their trade, there are lots of unsanitary issues that need to be dealt with in earnest to forestall any future outbreak of diseases.

One major issue that needs to be tackled immediately is Open Defecation (OP). Currently, the entire market and the shanty towns have been springing up have only one 20-seater KVIP, 10 each for males and females.

The long-distance from where the toilet is cited to the market square and that of the shanty towns is enough motivation for people to practice Open Defecation.

Another disincentive for most people especially, labourers, and head porters who say they do not earn enough money is the price. The private operator who owns the facility charges ghc1for single use.

The unplanned market square also has challenges with proper waste disposal sites as pockets of bent rubbishes were seen in the various available spaces as well as nearby bushes.

The group, says no state agency or the authorities at the Gomoa East District Assembly has come to their aid, ever since they relocated though the numbers keep increasing day in and day out.

Chairman of the Onion Sellers Association, Chief Alhaji Fuseini, in an interview with the media, said though they have found peace and joy at their current location, he appealed to the government to come to their aid by the provision of water, sanitation, electricity and prepare demarcation of the area.

Alhaji Fuseini said: “We do not want to replicate indiscriminate putting of structures as was the case of Agbogbloshie. So in consultation with the District Assembly, we will work on the demarcations.”

Meanwhile, the Gomoa East District Assembly which does not have any bigger market and potential revenue hub seems not to be bothered about the developing place into an ultra-modern market. The Onion market now has other produce sellers joining them.

Since we expect the onion market like every new community to assimilate the ever-increasing population, it is also hoped that the district assembly will take advantage of the numerous opportunities that population growth present and be resilient to overcome the various challenges associated with population growth.

There is evidence that the global sanitation crisis persists in the developing countries despite fifteen years of global efforts into the framework established by the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) (Hawthorne, 2017; UN-Water, 2008).

The main target of Goal 7 was to ensure improved sanitation coverage. This Goal had a strong link to issues such as the environment and public health, economy, and human dignity. However, this Goal was somehow never fully met.

 Hence, there was a need to further toughen-up measures to make the goal a reality and not a mirage. The goal was captured by Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure that everyone is provided with adequate and equitable sanitation to end open defecation by 2030. However, according to the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) (2019), 673 million people still practice open defecation.

WHO & UNICEF (2008) defined sanitation as the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal and management of human faeces and urine.

It is imperative to stress that diseases spread due to improper disposal and waste management, although access to improved sanitation facilities is likely to reduce the incidence of sanitation-related diseases.

The visit was made possible by the kind courtesy of World Vision Ghana.


Source: gbcghanaonline/Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

inghananewstoday is a 24-hour new media company with a wide array of products including general news, politics, business, technology, and a specialized segment on water and sanitation (WASH) issues.

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