Ghana does not currently have a national program to address WASH in schools, but has included WASH in its Education Strategic Plan (2010 – 2020) by pledging to “Expand and improve school health, sanitation and safety systems”. One objective of the Education Strategic Plan is to have 100% of the Basic Education Schools “hygiene systems and sanitation” and 75% access to potable water by 2015. Issues concerning water, sanitation and hygiene in the schools are the responsibility of the national Schools Health Education Program or SHEP, which oversees nutrition, health, safety, and HIV education. SHEP functions under the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) which oversees water, sanitation and hygiene practices for the country.
The current WASH in schools program consists of student education in hand washing, food handling, water safety, water borne diseases, and environmental and personal hygiene. School health clubs formed by students are established to help create and implement specific projects to improve the WASH practices in the schools and in the community. These clubs are under the guidance of specially trained school health teachers who also instruct parents and the other teachers on the needs of WASH in schools, also encouraging parents to construct latrines.
Current data available, which comes from the 2009/2010 school year, reports 62% of schools with access to toilet facilities and 65% with access to water. Current WASH in school interventions are supported by a number of international and domestic NGO’s. UNICEF, as a chief supporter of WASH in schools, has provided both financial and technical support in creating 2009 National SHEP Policy and 2011-2015 Strategic Frameworks for Effective School Health Delivery.
UNICEF support has also led to gender sensitive institutional latrines, hand washing facilities hygiene, promotion materials and hygiene education in guinea worm endemic areas in the Northern Region. Thirty-seven of the schools benefited from direct water supply connections from both limited mechanical systems and communal water points.