The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has revealed that the nine-month coronavirus-induced free water supply to Ghanaians will cost the government GHS 834 million.
At the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana, the government announced three-month free water for Ghanaians.
It was subsequently extended further until the end of the year.
Speaking at the 2020 Global Handwashing Day Commemoration in Accra, Ms. Dapaah said “the free water policy was costing the country close to GHS 834 million at the end of the nine months, ending December 2020.”
“The high cost of the Free Water Policy cannot be equated to the number of lives saved through effective and proper handwashing with soap under running water during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This singular most important social intervention is to make potable water easily accessible and at no cost to all, to allow for effective and proper handwashing with soap under running water,” she added.
Ms. Dapaah also outlined additional interventions made by the Ministry together with its partners to promote handwashing among Ghanaians.
“We distributed over 1,500 units of handwashing facilities and accompanying logistics to critical and vulnerable groups of society namely, health facilities, mental homes, foster homes, lorry parks, basic and secondary schools, to support effective handwashing.”
She urged Ghanaians to prioritize handwashing with soap.
“As we commemorate the Global Handwashing Day to promote and give visibility to handwashing with soap in Ghana, let me say that promoting health is one of the important steps towards development and a better quality of life. To make this occasion a memorable one, I wish to appeal to all and sundry to make handwashing with soap a priority.
“Together we can save lives in Ghana by promoting handwashing with soap. Let us all resolve today to sustain washing hands with soap particularly at the critical times especially after visiting the toilet and handling food,” she added.
The Unicef Representative for Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay, addressing the gathering after handing over some handwashing materials to the Ministry called on stakeholders to follow suit.
“Today we are pleased to hand-over additional Veronica Buckets and other hygiene supplies to the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service for onward distribution to schools in the Greater Accra Region. We would also like to take this opportunity to invite all stakeholders to invest in water, sanitation, and hygiene, as this is critical for Ghana to fight COVID-19 and make more progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”