ACCRA, April 17, 2012 – Ghana’s economy loses 420 million Ghanaian cedis each year (US$290 million, 1.6 percent of GDP) each year due to poor sanitation, according to a report today released by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).
The desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa - Ghana, found that the majority (74 percent) of these costs come from the annual premature death of 19,000 Ghanaians from diarrheal disease, including 5,100 children under the age of 5, nearly 90 percent of which is directly attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Health-related costs accounted for nearly 19 percent of the total economic costs, while access time and productivity losses accounted for about 7 percent.
“We’ve known for some time about the impact of poor sanitation on health, but this is one of the first studies to quantify the annual costs incurred because of poor sanitation,” said Yolande Coombes, senior water and sanitation specialist with WSP. “Ghana will not be able to grow sustainably without addressing these costs.”
The study also found 4.8 million Ghanaians have no latrine at all and defecate in the open, and that the poorest quintile is 22 times more likely to practice open defection than the richest.