Mr Benjamin Arthur, Executive Secretary, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), has appealed to traditional authorities to use traditional values and custom to promote sanitation.
He appealed to them to revive cultural values which made open defecation a taboo to help reduce the practice in the country.
Mr Arthur said this at a day’s seminar for selected “community champions” in the Volta Region on scaling up improved sanitation services through the use of social norms.
It was at the instance of UNICEF-Ghana and the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Mr Arthur said it was time Ghana looked within itself for solutions to open defecation and appealed to chiefs as custodians of the land to lead the crusade with taboos.
“Our chiefs have power, so whilst we expect government to do it, our chiefs must also play their roles,” he stated.
Mr Arthur also urged religious leaders to regularly educate their followers on the need to desist from defecating in the open.
“We must all learn from the cat. It defecates outside and covers it,” he said.
Some participants who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said though their chiefs were ready to work, some Assembly members responsible for sanitation had made themselves “tin gods” and disrespected the chiefs.
Mr Victus Tetteh, one of the facilitators therefore urged Assembly members to work with chiefs for the success of the project.
According to CONIWAS, Ghana spends about GHC79 million every year on sanitation related diseases.
It said about 23 per cent of Ghana’s population indulged in open defecation with only 15 per cent having improved latrine.
The Volta Region is the fourth in the country with 31 per cent of its population defecating openly.