A two day Joint Ministerial Water and Sanitation High level Meeting between Liberia and Sierra Leone has opened in Monrovia, as Liberia joins Countries the World over to celebrate World Water Day today. The Meeting is intended to share experiences and challenges in the Water, Sanitation and Health WASH sector of both Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the start of the meeting, the Ambassador for WASH in Africa, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the target for providing access to safe sanitation which is critical to tackling killer diseases in developing countries is one of the most off track targets amongst the Millennium Development Goals.
A release from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E) quotes President Sirleaf as saying that Africa has a great challenge in meeting up with the goals of providing safe drinking water and sanitation services in Africa.
According to her, Africa won’t reach the target over the period of 50 years, neither will the MDGs be achieved by 2026 due to the worsening WASH conditions prevailing in our respective countries.
President Johnson-Sirleaf who is WaterAid WASH Ambassador for Africa further revealed that most people lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation in Africa.
She noted that diarrhea is one of the major killers in Africa due to the prevailing unhealthy WASH conditions in most countries, calling for collaborative efforts by both countries (Liberia
and Sierra Leone) in addressing the issues of water, sanitation and health in the two countries.
She urged participants to discuss the issue in the light of planning systems, accountability, effectiveness and policy frame work.
Also speaking at the meeting, Sierra Leone Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madam Zainab Bangura, commended the Liberian Leader for initiating such a meeting to discuss issues of water, sanitation and health in both countries. Minister Bangura said, President Ernest Bai Koroma believes that the meeting is a great opportunity for the two founding members of the Mano River Union to share their experiences in the water, sanitation and health sector of their respective countries.
Meanwhile, the two-day joint Ministerial Water and Sanitation High Level meeting is expected to end today with a major press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.