The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has released the maiden census reports in braille, audio and large prints to make it easy for people who have difficulty seeing to have access to the 2021 Population and Housing Census report.
The first census publication in braille was published in partnership with the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) as part of the commitment of the GSS to disseminate census data in diverse ways to meet the needs of all data users.
The GSS also released a comparative analysis report of the 2010 and 2021 report on water and sanitation, a project sponsored by UNICEF.
The report presents statistics generated from the 2010 and 2021 populations census data sets.
The water-related indicators in the report include statistics on the main sources of water for domestic purposes, household source of drinking water, average time spent by households without drinking water to sources from their premises, while the sanitation indicators include information on toilet technologies used by households, toilet services and defecation points for households without toilets in regions and districts.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the report in Accra yesterday, the Chief Census Officer and Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, said the report was a trend analysis from the two Population and Housing censuses which would provide invaluable information to support the implementation of policies, to ensure that all persons in Ghana had access to safe, sufficient water and sanitation services.
He said there was a reduction in open defecation by 1.6 per cent, but expressed worry over the disaggregation across the 261 districts.
“So while at the national level there has been an improvement of 1.6 per cent, we also found that 70 districts had retrogressed and recorded increases in open defecation in their jurisdictions, while some districts in the northern part of Ghana also recorded some improvement in open defecation,” Prof. Annim said.
He urged the Ministry for Local Government and Rural Development to engage the district chief executives that were recording improvements to share best practices with others whose districts were not doing well to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030.
He urged the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to take a re-look at its national targets on access to improved services.
Prof. Annim also highlighted the disparities across urban and rural areas as the comparative reports showed that situations in the rural areas were worse.
“To ensure that there is universal access and equitable access to improved water, the pace at which we are moving, the achievement of the SDG Six and our chances of ending open defecation is minimal unless we accelerate interventions in that area,” he added.
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Dr Freda Akosua Prempeh, in a speech read on her behalf by the Director in charge of General Administration at the ministry, Patricia Dovi Sampson, said data and information played a pivotal role in ensuring good governance.
The reports, she said, offered detailed data essential for making well informed decisions at all administrative levels.
The ministry, in collaboration with the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), would make use of the statistical insights provided in the reports, she said.
She added that the ministry’s commitment was to ensure that all persons had access to safe and improved water and sustainable environmental sanitation in line with SDG Six.
SDG Six is to ensure access to clean drinking water and sanitation for the wellbeing of all people.
A water specialist at UNICEF, Lorretta Roberts, said the report had indicated that “we need to do more to accelerate the achievcement of the SDG goals relating to water and sanitation”.
The Executive Director of the Ghana Blind Union, Dr Peter Obeng Asamoah, said the census report in braille was a historic event that marked the beginning of a tremendous step of making information accessible to all.