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Bongo District: Reversing the impact of fluoride

Published on: 02/06/2020

Bongo district was one of the three selected districts where successes and challenges in the provision of water and sanitation services were collected.

Bongo District in Upper East Region, is one of the driest areas of Ghana with a population of just over 103,000 people. More than 30 boreholes had to be taken out of use because of dangerously high levels of fluoride in some underground water, causing damage to the bones and teeth of the people who drink it. In 2015 Bongo District Assembly began to take urgent action with support from a number of donors including UNDP and UNICEF. Providing safe water has become a top priority.

Over the past five years WaterAid Ghana has worked with Bongo district on a WASH for Public Health (WASH4PH) project in 24 communities focusing on schools and community health care facilities. In 2019 the District Assembly doubled its own budget for WASH and committing itself to drilling and rehabilitating 15 boreholes a year and developing six small town schemes covering 20 communities. Water coverage is now 84% and the District Assembly expects to achieve full coverage by 2025. 

WASH4PH has also addressed sanitation. In 2015 when WaterAid Ghana began its project, more than eight out of ten people were practising open defecation in Bongo district. The District Assembly and WaterAid have been promoting Community-led Total Sanitation and providing hygienic toilets for schools, health facilities and markets. By the end of 2019, 19 of the 24 communities where WaterAid Ghana worked have become open defecation free. Overall in the district 38% of households have access at least to basic sanitation. The situation is improving.

Read the story Bongo works with partners to resolve fluoride legacy

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