Water, education, health and sanitation are very important to man’s existence, but many sections of the population in the metropolises, municipalities and districts are unable to access them.
It is in view of this that several non-governmental and civil society organisations working in the water, education, health and sanitation sectors have come together to intensify advocacy on these social services.
The Essential Services Platform, convened by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), was on Tuesday launched in Accra to emphasise the challenges faced by some sections of society in accessing those social services.
Apart from emphasising the needs, the platform will challenge those whose duty it was to provide such services to do so through advocacy and other initiatives.
The platform brings together the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), Ghana National Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Health, and the National Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water (NCAPW).
It will provide an avenue for issues relating to accessibility, affordability and availability of social services to be placed consistently before those who have the duty to provide them for the vulnerable.
Launching the platform, the National Vice-President of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, Mr Solomon Onubuogu, stressed the need for deepening engagements with policy makers and government officials to ensure that the vulnerable had access to social services.
The platform, he said, would provide the space to bring together those with diverse experiences on the difficulties encountered by some other people in accessing services and challenges.
The Director of Finance and Administration of the ISODEC, Mr Ernest Tay Awoosah, said the need for a concerted effort in ensuring that social services were available to all and the need to maximise the policy space within which issues were tackled, justified the creation of the platform.
In a press statement read by the Southern Sector Co-ordinator of the Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water, Mr Alhassan Adam, he said the platform was of the view that rural and urban poverty was still a great challenge.
“What is worrying is that the poor still face harsh conditions of unreliable water supplies, poor sanitation, pollution, limited access to power supplies and poor nutrition, “ he said.
The platform said: “The provision of basic social services largely becomes the duty of the state in line with the universal principles of human rights.”
He urged the public to advocate alternative policies to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that had the potential for preventing governments from carrying out responsibilities for providing those social services.
DAILY GRAPHIC, THURSDAY NOVEMBER 13, 2008, PG 29