- Almost two-thirds of Ghanaians (64%) are at risk of engaging in open defecation because they do not have toilets in their homes or in their compounds. This proportion has hardly changed since 2012 (65%).
- The 2010 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2010) and 2012/2013 Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 6) showed even higher proportions (73% in the PHC 2010, 74% in the GLSS 6) at risk of engaging in open defecation.
- Rural residents are more likely to lack access to toilets than their urban counterparts, according to the Afrobarometer, PHC 2010, and GLSS 6 surveys.
Ghana has been observing Toilet Day since 2009, four years before the United Nations designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. The purpose of the observance is to raise awareness about the challenges and deadly health consequences of poor sanitation in some parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and to encourage the formulation and implementation of policies that increase access to improved sanitation. (For more on sanitation, its implications for health, and the World Toilet Organization, see www.worldtoilet.org.)
Over the years, local government bodies in Ghana have been encouraging households to build their own toilet facilities in their homes through the provision of counterpart funding. Improving human-waste management was made a key aspect of the Human Settlement and Infrastructure component in the Ghana 2010-2013 Shared Growth and Development Agenda. In July 2015, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development announced a $60 million World Bank loan intended to improve sanitation. According to the minister, the funds will be disbursed through the metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong-Ahafo, and Volta regions to assist households to build their own latrines.
As we observe World Toilet Day 2015, this analysis of Afrobarometer survey data suggests that more extensive policy and implementation efforts will be needed to address the challenge of open (or “free range”) defecation in Ghana.