The UN General Assembly declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. The goal is to raise awareness and to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal Seven target 10 to reduce by half the proportion of the 2.6 billion people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.
Apart from health, the importance of sanitation also lies in several fields of development making it one of the key factors to achieve the MDGs. For example, sanitation is also an important factor in economic development, as it is estimated that every dollar invested in sanitation returns in average nine dollars of economic benefit, mostly by reducing health costs, allowing greater investment in education, and therefore significantly increasing the Gross Domestic Product.
The MDGs consist of a number of modules among which is sanitation. Ghana is expected to meet the requirement of that component by 2015. The huge gap between sanitation needs and resources available in the country is therefore the major challenge towards the attainment of these goals.
It is clear that the subject of sanitation globally is central to the agenda for good governance by governments throughout the world.
Ghana’s policy position on environmental sanitation emphasizes developing and maintaining a clean, safe and pleasant physical environment in all human settlements in order to promote the social, economic and physical well-being of all.
Various sanitation agencies and actors have been assigned the responsibilities that seek to ensure that sanitation services are provided reliably and continuously to mitigate negative social and economic effects.
Even though the national environmental sanitation policy emphasizes environmental sanitation as an essential factor that contributes to health, productivity and welfare of Ghanaians, coverage is still very low, funding at all levels has been inadequate and sanitation-related diseases with attendant social and economic costs continue to exert a heavy toll.