Patients Health Threatened As Open Defecation Hits Tamale Teaching Hospital

Patients and relatives at the Tamale Teaching Hospital have resorted to defecating openly at the premises of the hospital due to the unavailability of sanitary facilities.

A visit to the facility by DGN Online revealed that filth, rampant open defecation among other practices have taken over the maternity block of the facility.

Patients and relatives have resorted to an abandoned structure located close to the maternity block where they use as a place of convenience whenever nature calls.

The situation has shocked many as they wonder how a health facility would be turned into a defecating site.

A patient relative, Afa Zakaria in an interview with DGN Online expressed displeasure about the situation as they find it difficult to free themselves when nature calls.

“ When you feel like urinating or going to the toilet you find yourself wanting and many relatives of patients rely on the abandoned building there to defecate and attend to nature’s call because there are no toilet facilities here at the hospital .”

Another patient relative, Amina Alhassan was worried that a health facility whose main objective is to ensure quality healthcare delivery and the safety of patients will be the same facility to infect them with diseases such as diarrhea, cholera among others.

“It is sad to see that the sanitary situation here is bad and this is where we eat and do everything when we come here to take care of our relatives, I was even told that the toilet facility at the main hospital for patients on admission is always under lock at night and so they free themselves into their chamber pot then bring it downstairs and pour it into the gutter.”

The patient relatives appealed to authorities of the Tamale Teaching Hospital to ensure that sanitary facilities are provided to visitors and patients’ relatives who visit to take care of patients on admission.

Sustainable Development Goal

Sustainable Development Goal 6 talks about clean water and sanitation for all.

End Open Defecation and Provide Access to Sanitation and Hygiene. By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

The Tamale Teaching hospital serves as a referral facility for the five regions of the north and some parts of Oti.

Though Tamale is known to be one of the fastest-growing cities in Ghana, the same cannot be said about the indigenes’ response to sanitation.

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) during this year’s World Toilet Day Celebration indicated that less than one percent of communities in Tamale are certified as open defecation free (ODF) with residents mainly depending on public toilets (nearly 60% of adults) that do not meet their needs for cleanliness, privacy, and convenience.

In addition, 81% of households do not have private latrines which has resulted in the prevalence of diarrhea and cholera.

Efforts to reach the management of the Tamale Teaching hospital to comment on the matter proved futile.

FROM Eric Kombat, Tamale