Dr Iyabode Olusami, the United Nations Children’s Fund Representative in Ghana, has revealed that the lack of access to clean water and sanitation is taking a heavy toll on the lives of Ghanaian children.
She said diarrhoea, a water-borne disease, kills over 7,000 Ghanaian children every year and recent studies have shown that children living in high density areas of Accra do not have better access to water and sanitation than children living in the villages.
Also, the lack of access to potable water kills more children than the combined cases of HIV/AIDS, malaria and smallpox.
“That is why it is not enough to talk about availability of water without addressing its quality,“ Dr Olusami said in Accra at the launching of 8th annual Environmental Film Festival (EEFA).
Organised by Creative Storm under the direction of Dr Kwesi Owusu and Dr Claudia D’Andrea, this year’s festival is dedicated to raising awareness about the significance of water.
The UNICEF official said globally, 3.5 million people die from water -borne diseases out of which about 1.8 million are children.
“It is often thought that the lack of access to improved water sources is a rural problem but let me remind you that this is not the case, “she said.
She was however pleased that children are contributing to solutions to the problems of lack of access to potable water and the environment by making films for screening at the festival.
Dr Olusami congratulated the children who submitted entries and described their work “powerful and demonstrate the power of films to entertain, educate and most importantly, carry messages that can transform the world and move us all to action.”
Dr Olusanmi also commended the festival organisers for being instrumental in moving the issue of the environment from the fringes to the centre stage of national debate.
Films from Ghana, France, Australia, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom and other places are being screened at selected venues across Accra for the festival which ends next Friday at the Alliance Francaise
The UNICEF, Environmental Protection Agency, European Union, Danish Embassy, Wienco Ghana Limited and the French Embassy are collaborating to organize the festival