President Weah Growls Against Open Defecation; Craves Collective Fight

MONROVIA-President George Weah has raised his voice against the nuisance of open defecation which has fast become commonplace in Liberia.

Owing to the consequences such menace poses to the nation and people, the President has urged Liberians to come together and collectively fight for the eradication of open defecation across the country.

The Liberian Leader said his administration is determined to strengthen the fight against open defecation in line with the government’s flagship development agenda,  Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PAPD).

The President’s remarks were contained in a statement read on his behalf by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wilson Tarpeh  during program marking the official celebration of World Toilet Day on Friday.

Mr. Tarpeh quoted   President Weah as saying that over 3.5 billion people the world over practicing open defecation due to  lack of access to toilet facilities.

On the average,  Liberia constituted about 1% of the global estimate of open defecation, the President said.

“Relatively small number compared in teams of the global amount, but if  compared to our population, then is equal to about  43%. This means that we have approximately 2.2 million people who have no access to toilet at homes or public places,” he said.

“Most Liberians do not have access to modern toilets, so they do not attend to nature in dignity and comfort.”

The President described as shame and undermining of the dignity of people the practice of open defecation.

“The list of negative effects of open defection is too long,” President Weah indicated, and added that the government intends to intensify the fight against open defecation.

Government’s roadmap on open defecation calls for partnership and collaboration with the wider global community and private sector which he says  is the engine  of economic growth in the country.

President Weah further urged stronger collaboration and doubling efforts between government and partners to generate the needed resources to address the issue of open defection.

The President assured the public of his commitment to sign the roadmap to end open defecation.

Marking remarks also,  the head of the National WASH Commission, Bobby Whitefield, called on the government to allocate more money to the WASH sector to make it effective and vibrant in the performance of its duties.

“It is about time that the Government of Liberia prioritizes WASH by demonstrating the highest political will,” he indicated.

He maintained that such political will bring pressure to bear on the ministries and agencies  that fall within the WASH sector to be able  to give  the needed attention  in addressing  issues related to open defecation  in schools,  communities and other public areas.

“If  the Ministry of Public  Works is not capacitated as well as the Liberia Water And Sewer Corporation,   Ministry of Education ,Ministry  Health,  National Public Health Institute of Liberia, they will not be in the position  to address  the open defecation situation  the country  is confronted with,” Whitefield observed.

Mr. Whitfield extolled   international partners such as UNICEF, CLTS Foundation, Action Against Hunger, Catholic Relief Services, USAID, WaterAid Liberia ,Concern Worldwide and Wet Hunger hilfe   for  their  supports  to  the WASH  sector.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Kamal Kar , who is the  Director  of CLTS Foundation Global  urged Government  and  the citizens  to do all within their reach to end open defecation in the shortest time.

Ending Open Defecation, he argued, can only be achievable if everybody gets involved.

He said the population remains vulnerable in the face of open defecation which he blames on some illnesses affecting the people across the country.

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