About 125 Zongo Chief Imams in the Ashanti Region have formed a group called Zongo Leaders Against Open Defecation (ZOLAOD) to replicate the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area – Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP) in the region.
The coalition would sensitize and orient Imams about the scope, results and expected impact of the project on the promotion of household toilets in low-income Muslim communities in Kumasi.
It would also support the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to identify and convince households without toilets to take advantage of the opportunity being offered by the GAMA-SWP/KMA to all Zongo communities in the region.
This came to light when a delegation of the coalition led by Sheikh Abdul Mumin Haruna, the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, paid a courtesy call to the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu and the Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ishahaku Amidu Chinnia, in Accra.
Alhaji Haruna, in an address sought the blessings of the National Chief Imam for the Coalition for effective implementation of the project in the Zongo communities in the Ashanti Region.
“We would like to entreat the National Chief Imam to nominate an officer to liaise with their Ashanti counterparts to ensure that all Imams in Zongos join the coalition,” he stated.
He called on the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to extend the GAMA-SWP to all Zongos and other low-income communities across the country.
Alhaji Haruna expressed gratitude to GAMA-SWP for collaborating with the KMA to construct 4,300 biodigester toilets within 10 months of the extension of the project to Kumasi.
Alhaji Chinnia, on his part, expressed happiness by the steps taken by the Imams to curb open defecation.
He said the government was embarking on vigorous public health education to strengthen the management of environmental sanitation in the country.
Alhaji Chinnia said it was the responsibility of everybody to let sanitation be part and parcel of their everyday activity to reduce the frequent visits to the hospitals.
“The open defecation, if it is allowed unchecked can have a serious adverse effects on the economy since most of these diseases, like diarrhea, cholera and typhoid were all preventable if we all manage our attitudes well,” he stated.
The Deputy Minister urged the Coalition to collaborate with the Assemblies to intensify their efforts at monitoring sanitary conditions and hygiene within the Zongo communities.
Mr George Asiedu, the National Coordinator of the GAMA-SWP, urged the Imams to engage in extensive campaign in the Mosques on the relevance of household toilets and the processes of getting one.