The chairman of the Civil Society Organizations, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASH-CSOs Network), Prince Kreplah, says the government of Liberia has failed miserably in implementing its actions or commitments in the WASH sector, because most of the provisions in the WASH Compact are yet to come to past. He expresses disappointment that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has failed to issue an executive order on the establishment of the WASH Commission and other groups that will have oversight responsibilities on WASH related issues in the country.
Kreplah said the establishment of the Commission was critical to addressing WASH problems in the country because the situation was causing government to lose over seventeen million United States dollars (US$17million) annually due to the lack of accessible water, sanitation and hygiene.
Kreplah made the disclosure Thursday, December 6, 2012, when he served as facilitator at the beginning of a two day workshop for WASH reporters and editors with the theme: “Increased WASH Media Focus/Interest” held in Monrovia.
According to him, over three thousand Liberians die each year from WASH related illnesses, quoting World Bank water sanitation program studies report.
The WASH CSOs chairman said government has refused to honor its commitments to the fifteen implementations in the WASH Compact recently signed by the President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf, despite of her role as Ambassador of WASH Africa.
Kreplah also named government’s failure to establish or upgrade the community services division of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare into a bureau as a disservice to the Liberian people, and challenged journalists to increase their focus on the policies and commitments made by the government.
The WASH Advocate also mentioned some of the challenges within the sector as the fragmentation in governance and public service provision; low financing in budget, lack of adequate data due to the lack of unify data collection mechanism.
Kreplah indicated that the commitments in the sector that have been successfully implemented are donor-driven.
For his part, the Chairman of the WASH reporters and editors (WASH R&E), Augustine Myers, said the two day workshop is intended to focus on the importance of journalist’s role in reporting on the WASH sector.
He indicated the need for the expansion of the WASH coverage and reportage by journalists throughout the country.
The WASH R&E Network chairman said the two day workshop will also find way forward for WASH journalists in Liberia to have a strategic plan that will represent the views of all WASH journalists across the country.