Speaking during the meeting the Communication and Advocacy officer at WASH-Net, Sandy Massaquoi explained the significance of their findings. He said as a network one of their mandate is to showcase burning issues affecting the c community so that ministry and partners concern to take immediate actions needed. He pointed out that a lot of research has been done relating to sanitation which he said clearly demonstrate that the aspect of sanitation has been left behind by the ministry.
He recalled that the Central Government and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) use to hand over sanitary responsibilities of the city to the councils. He use the forum to appeal to government do more allocation to ministry of health so that the necessary improvement for sanitation could be done.
The Consultant who did the findings for WASH-NET, Thomas Johnny, made a comprehensive presentation on the finding he did relating sanitation and WASH in general. He said during his research he noticed that poor sanitation was the leading causes diarrhea, cholera and other related diseases that can be easily prevented. He said 70% of the city of Freetown is unplanned citing UNICEF Report.
Other issues he pointed was that government is yet to pass into law sanitation policy and strategy, the issues of poor waste management, weak coordination amongst MDAs, skills gap, huge challenges of monitoring and evaluation on programs, weakness on the part of MOHS and the inadequate donor commitment.
He further proffer some recommendations to MoHS as a way forward such as the increasing domestic revenue for environmental health, strengthening decentralization of sanitation services, sensitization on sanitation ordinance Act, increasing policy strategy, community participation and increasing resources to the WASH sector.
In response to the findings presented, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo at Ministry of Health commended the consultant and WASH-Net for the research. He said as a ministry, they provide an oversight monitoring on policies and guidelines on responsibilities but no budget allocation on sanitation. Dr. Kargbo affirmed that, implementation on issues of sanitation is the sole responsibilities of the city councils, adding that MoHS only monitors, amongst other assigned responsibilities.