Ghanasco Students Practice Open Defecation

The newly built toilet at Ghanasco


Students of the Ghana Senior High School (Ghanasco) in the Northern Region, have been compelled to practise open defecation due to lack of toilet facilities in the school.

The Ghana Senior High School which was established in 1960 has a student population of over 3,200 without a workable toilet facility.

Meanwhile, two newly built toilet facilities in the school have been locked up while students defecate in the open.

The situation has resulted in some students falling sick and being hospitalized for diarrhea, Typhoid fever among other diseases.

A visit by DGN Online to the school showed students defecating at a nearby bush close to the boys’ dormitory.

The school does not have any toilet facility except a public toilet far from the boys’ and girls’ dormitories which is shared with the people of the Kukuo community.

DGN Online gathered that the girls dormitory does not also have any toilet facility and that they also practice open defecation when nature calls.

It was also revealed that a toilet facility was converted into a dormitory in one of the boys dormitory to accommodate students.

A student who spoke to DGN Online, on condition of anonymity indicated that he went to the hospital within the week and was diagnose of Typhoid fever.

“ I am not surprise because this bush here is where we defecate and you can imagine we sit outside here to eat our dinning food so definitely a fly can carry any substance into our food. I am not the only student a lot of us fall sick because of the open defecation here.”

According to him, some female students defecate in plastic bags and dispose of them in a nearby bush.

“Some of the girls tell us that they defecate into polythene bags then throw it into the bush while some go to the bush to free themselves.”

The students appealed to school authorities to provide toilet facilities for them to avoid the spread of diseases among students.

Clearly, the sustainability of WASH facilities in schools is still a major challenge.

The Sustainable Development Goal 6 calls for ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and ending open defecation but the lack of toilet facilities for students of Ghanasco could deny them this opportunity.

According to the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC), all the 10 leading open defecation districts are in the Northern region with the region recording a 60.6% of open defecation rate.

The Headmaster of the Ghanasco, Mahama Douglas in an interview with DGN Online , said that the lack of toilet facilities is a challenge in most senior high schools in the region.

He however hinted that the locked up newly built toilet facilities in the school is as a result of lack of water connection to the facilities.

“ One of the biggest problems we have as heads of schools are toilets, we always ask for toilets, they will construct the toilet for us and it comes without water connections and so that means it’s better to rather construct the KVIP type of toilet because the seater needs water and so if there’s no water they become white elephants because once you construct it without water it becomes useless.”

The Ghanasco Headmaster stated that management is unable to allow students to use the newly built toilet facility because they might litter the environment which could be dangerous to their health.

He admitted that in most boarding schools , toilets facilities are not enough for the student population which results in students engaging in open defecation.

“In most boarding schools toilet facilities are usually not enough and so when you compare students population and the number of toilet faculties you will realize that the students outnumber the facilities and that’s when they do open defecation so for open defecation it’s everywhere go around the boarding schools they are there.”

Mr. Douglas however assured that should the contract of the newly built facility complete his work by installing access to water in the facilities will be opened for students use.

He, however, lamented that the only toilet facility in the school is being shared with the Kukuo community due to the lack of a fence wall.

“Sometimes it’s good to build a good connection with the community but our students sometimes would want to use the facility and it’s being taken over by the community members and so they would have to wait and so one of the ways to solve this issue is to have a fence wall around the school.”

FROM Eric Kombat, Tamale