Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity.
Mr Speaker, before I contribute to the Statement, I would wish to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement, and say that he has done very well.
Mr Speaker, the issue of washing hands with soap under running water cannot be overemphasised.
Mr Speaker, it is not an issue that has to be handled by only the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources. It includes a whole lot of Ministries and all other stakeholders, including Ghanaians at large -- each and every one of us.
Mr Speaker, let us take our public toilets, for instance, where we have the greatest risk when we visit those lavatories. Many at times, we go to these public toilets and realise that there is nothing like water for us to even rinse our hands, not to talk of washing with soap under running water.
It is very important that, education is given to the whole public and that all those who have public latrines, whether for the public to pay and get in or by Government, should have these facilities.
There should be water not only with one basin or bucket, but at least two basins and buckets because, we may have both ladies and gents going in, so that the queue would not be long and deter others from participating in this all-important activity. That is for our own health.
Mr Speaker, charity begins at home. It is important that the Hon Minister for Health and the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection and all other stakeholders come up with a programme.
Let us give that education; let us make our people understand that, it is not when they go to the bathroom to wash themselves down that they necessarily have to wash their hands but that it is important that, they wash their hands even as they sit and get up. It is important.
This is because, as they sat down, most probably, the hand would have touched so many things around which could have either collected dirt or whatever. It is very necessary we also send this message.
I know very well that, in most of our schools these days it is practised, but to what extent, Mr Speaker, we are yet to tell. This is because, many at times, there may not be water and even if there is, the water might not be potable or clean enough because it is unnecessary for us to wash our hands with soap in dirty water. So, it is very important to have good and clean water available with the soap.
Mr Speaker, it is very important for us to make sure that we have what it takes. Even if we would get water in the neighbourhood, what about the soap? Let us take our schools, for instance, it is not going to be a one-time thing. It is not one day; it is every day.
In some schools, we have thousands of pupils and every pupil, I would say, should endeavour to wash his or her hands everyday when they get to school notwithstanding the teachers. So, it is a duty for the teachers to take up this issue; it is a duty for all stakeholders.
We as Hon Members of Parliament (MPs) should make this as one of our national anthems when we get back to our communities and mount platforms. We should be able to articulate this, and let all stakeholders listen and understand what we are talking about.
Mr Speaker, fortunately, it is the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources himself who has made this Statement at no less a place but in Parliament.
I would urge the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources to ensure that each basic school especially, should have a borehole to enable them get water. I assure him that water is not going to be only for the issue of the washing of hands but even for them to drink. It would go a long way to help.
In the rural communities where water is a problem, they share the same water sources with animals. The animals go there to defecate, people go into these water bodies to bathe, others wash along those rivers, streams or better still, dams or dugouts and human beings go there to fetch.
We go under the pretence of using certain concoctions and others for instance, alum to purify water. We put this chemical inside the water and say it is clean because we have seen that maybe, particles which can be picked up are settled under. We say the water is clean, when in actual fact the water is not clean because we have put an additive in it and we do not even know what quantity we should have put in it.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I urge the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources to do more and collaborate with his colleague Hon Ministers to enable them do a better job.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.