According to the International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the clarion call comes at a time when many schools have no regular access to water, basic private toilets and facilities for washing hands with soap.
The Communications and Campaign Officer of WaterAid Ghana, Ms Yvonne Kafui Nyaku, who made the call when she addressed a durbar to commemorate this year’s Global Hand Washing Day in the Aberingabisi community in the Bongo District, said the problems in schools without decent toilet facilities are that, girls are likely to miss lessons or drop out of school once they start menstruating due to the unavailability of decent places for them to change.
“They don’t have that privacy to change their sanitary towels and pads so they stay away from school. Children also miss lessons because they have to cut lessons to go and do their own thing in the bush,” she indicated.
She called for prioritization of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools, health centres and other public institutions.
“Health care givers are exposed to all sort of diseases, they risk their lives because they don’t have access to water to wash their hands well, especially after handling patients,” she added.
The Global Hand washing Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding the importance of hand washing with soap.
This year’s celebration was on the theme: “Our hands, our future”.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Ayine Bukari, urged parents and teachers to instill the attitude of hand washing with soap in children, especially while they are young.
He said an award scheme will be instituted to acknowledge communities that perform credibly in ending open defecation in the region.
The Bongo District Chief Executive, Peter Ayinbisa in a speech read on his behalf, announced the assembly’s intention to build 14 boreholes by close of the year 2017, and 20 others in 2018, to augment the provision of potable drinking water in the district.