Water and sanitation is a global canker facing the most world population especially in Africa. Policy makers anticipate 80 billion Euros are needed every year to provide basic sanitation to the rural poor to ease poverty, therefore the need to get an in depth view of sanitation lagging behind is paramount . This paper aim to assess the factors causing the slow of progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals(MDG) in low-income countries. The pace are due to inadequate infrastructure systems, skilled labour constraints, insufficient political will and growth of population. It will review current studies in the sector and analyse various constraints that jeopardise the achievement of the sanitation development precisely Ghana. In this review article, published journals, reports, conferences are observed. As a results of the above review factors that is hampering MDG sanitation for Goal 7, it was concluded that policy framework should be put in place whereas government and donor organisations enforced and invest more in sanitation. The research should assist in the development process in an optimised way of addressing water and sanitation issues and allow better understanding of environmental differing that is triggering the success of MDGs.


Millennium Development Goals ; Ghana; Factors affecting water and sanitation development


Currently, 2.6 billion people in the world has no access to adequate sanitation(Marion W.jenkins ,2007) and 1.1 billion lack safe drinking water . (Water Aid,2008)representing to two fifth of the world population, leading up to range of diseases like cholera, a devastating cause of child deaths(Marion W. 2007). In Asia 675 million people are without improved drinking water sources and in sub-Sahara Africa, only 36% has no access to basic sanitation (Christine L. And Richard D.2006).The ability of low-income countries to productively solicit external support to scale –up aid is the major confronting issue today. As vast number of international organisations on the verged to address the problem in developing world whiles envisaging the need for every humanity to have access to basic sanitation, Ghana as part of the sub Saharan Africa will not be able to achieve the MDGs (DFID,2006).


The World Summit on Sustainable Development(WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002 adopted an international sanitation target to halve the number of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.This target now transform its self for water supply in support of the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring environmental sustainability(WELL,2003). Considering figures above, indicates the progress and geographic areas of where water and sanitation has covered as of the year 2002.The enormity of the constraints comes with the acknowledgement that poor state of infrastructure impediments are the cause of not achieving the MDGs(refer to appendix2 ) because 50% of the population cannot access improved services serving as an issue(Antonio E.2005), (UN,2007).William Easterly,2008 argued that the MDG are unfair to Africa because MDGs are poorly and arbitrarily designed to measure progress against poverty and deprivation, and that their design makes Africa looks worse than it really was. Most importantly, another article stated the need for external donors to increase funding although infrastructure systems is another challenging(hlsp, 2009).Contrary the (UNDP,2008) report reveal that lack of framework made monitory difficult to measure and therefore data availability in other cases was unpredictable for the reason been poor system of infrastructure in some countries for collecting appropriate statistics. Empirically, programmes in sanitation in developing countries has been fruitful and yielding results (Marion W. Jenkins and Beth Scott,2007) yet there is an overwhelming number of people who keep on installing latrines or toilet facilities in their homes without subsidy from donors to improved sanitation. Moreover, the global climate change that policy makers have been preaching, the impact in Africa where water crisis is escalating and water table been high especially in the region of Tamale where is terribly hard to drill a sunken borehole a get water even if there is then is possible it may contained 40% of salt(REVSODEP/SIMAVI,2003). Other studies have shown that climate change is a challenge to the success of the MDG(United Nations Economic and social council,2007). A number of studies have reported MDG trend progress of sanitation in Ghana as shown in (appendix1 and appendix 5) shows a series of attainable indicators how Ghana is progressing even though comments regarding poor infrastructure systems exist (Christine L. And Richard D.,2006) which tends to propel the success of sanitation projects in the developing nations . Similar findings have been made via (UN ,2006)department of economic and social affairs. However, most of these studies were based on different country orientations and gross domestic product(GDP) performance raised at the time the survey was made. As such, Aid scaling –up(Peter S.Heller,2005) to the overriding . International Journal on environment resource public health in Zambia 2006 found that lack of well staffed health care facilities, electricity, portable water, roads, adequate transportation and communication facilities contributed immensely to not meeting the sanitation target quiet apart from the political instability of other African region. This analysis is similar to less development of in local and national institutions in south Africa(Neville,G.2003) although south Africa is progressing well as compare to Ghana and others. The following Other objectives will enable us dig out further factors.

1.2 Ghana

The republic of Ghana is a country in west Africa with a population of about 22.1 million people(iicd,2007).The country was the first sub-saharan Africa country to obtain independence from colonial rules on the 6th of march 1957.Despite the country rich in natural resources such as cocoa, gold, timber, bauxite, salt and lately the discovered crude oil, the country is still in perennial sunk with water and sanitation diseases. After colonial rule the country is divided into 10 different regions which include, Northern region-Tamale, Bolgatanga, upper west region, Ashanti region, Volta region, Brong ahafo region, Central region, Eastern region, Greater Accra and western region(see appendix8) . In Ghana rural population who have access to safe water in 2005 stood at 54%, rural population with access to household latrine 25%, urban population with access to safe water 78% whiles 45% of urban citizens can boost of household latrine(WELL,2004).

2. Skilled labour constraints

It has been observed that for the Millennium Development Goal to achieve the set target in the sector of water and sanitation the human resources are vital. Shortages of skilled persons (World bank report,2005), (Lancet,2004)affect the health systems as indicative to progress of the MDGs.Erica User in 2005 indicated that international migration is associated with the non achievement of the MDG which seems to be increasing alarming and no resourceful person to deliver sustained latrines. The general conception that the success of MDG 2015 will be met only when african government invest more in sanitation(Arne B. And Abebe S. 2006) than they do now can be in approperiate in some countries without the necessary manpower skill needed. Conventionally, it will also interest the international community to realiseing the poverty nature in developing countries are more than the recoarse (IWA,2008)and therefore should be examine in different perspective way, progress has been hampered by population growth, unbattled HIV/AIDS, wide spread poverty.The view supported by working policy No.45 of (Goerge Essegbey et al 2007) who discovered that innovation in water and sanitation systems were made but was beyond the capacity of of the local people. Unlike in Kumasi a population of 19% of Ghana population census 2000 where technical drawings were made by a consultants for a contractor to implement the work and due to lack of skills required to execute the Ventilated improvement project with respect to the design specifications ,errors were degenerated due to the fact that local people incorporated bamboo sticks in the facility leading to unsuccessful work done. Comparing the situation in Asia to Ghana,(Ljiljana and Ram,2006) in 32nd WEDC international conference in Sri lanka vividly said institutional capacity building can been noticed as the most hindering factor for MDGs. Professional such as engineers who are knowlegeable, skillful and are suppose to assist Non governmental organisation and community based organisations in advocating and trainning the latter were seen non available. Again, sanitation projects were constructed in Nepal as shown in the figure3 below similarly described by (JMP ,2008)is a latrine constructed without a slab cover can be considered unimproved. The latrine was contracted to unskilled contractor without the trainee. Moreover, (Maguire,1990) arguable said Lack of knowledge of lower cost technologies and use of technologies in appropriate for developing countries was given in 1988 as one of the obstacles to decade success.

3. Political will

Some studies have shown knowledgeablly that lack of political (appendix 11) williness contributed to the slow progress of water and sanitation development in the south(Trocaire,2005),(IWA,2006), (macho ventura,2008). In Ghana for example,Rural areas and small towns had benefited from cross-subsides on water made possible higher tariffs in larger urban areas. But in preparing for privatisation, the government has eliminated such subsidisation by separating out the more lucrative urban water services. This jeopardised the financial sustainability of rural services(UNDP,2007) policy research brief illustrated. On the other hand, this was been carried due to two or more reasons after the implementation of the scheme and as developing change comeby some policy of government will need to change in order not to cause future catastrophe in the long run. Although Subsides need to be provided in oder to promote equitable access to utility services. Some utilitties have introduce "life line" tariffs in which minimal levels of utility services are provided free or at a low cost. Essentially, the UNSGAB,2008 undeniably illustrate that 12% of sub-saharan africa national health budget is spend only in providing sanitation and related health services and 50% of the hospital beds are occupied for the same reason. However, experts predicts by 2015 2.1 billion people will still lack sanitation especially in sub-sahara africa untill 2076 (ENS,2008) news.

In contrast, some sub saharan African leaders invest a lot of funds in the area of infrastructure and services in water and sanitation primarily into public sectors with other development partners even though these funds are decreasing for various reasons and the share commercial is financing is still very low. The Ghana water and Sewerage Coporation(GWSC), a public utility charged with the responsibility, among others, of achieving self financing status however due to lack of political will by the government over the years to institute adequate tariffs devastated the finances of the GWSC(George Akosa,1995).This situation ,coupled with the general declined of Ghana economy,resulted in most of the operational water supply projects being in a poor state of repair of lacking the installed capacity to provide adequate service.We will probably say the government does invest is only the population in Africa growing leading the people in an extreme poverty from 44.6% to 46.4% as shown in appendix 4,10. Furthermore, Ghana is reported to be on track to meet the target of halving poverty by 2015(UNESC,2008) it is yet uncertain if sanitation will be met. There is an improvement in the HIV but the deadlock is still unmet in basic sanitation.USAID argued that should the current progress continue as it is now only water and sanitation in all countries will be met by 2015 whiles (UN News Center,2008)secretary general Ban Ki Mo affirm lack of political will will be the biggest obtacle to imrpoving sanitation on world water day. (vandemoortele,2002) ,considering the perceptions incurr by similar reports and journals that government investment is far less.(Ekow.E,2008)demonstrated that special issue of energy policy on energy in Africa with case studies on Zambia, etc explained at least the political will of many governments to improve the quality and quantity of energy services as a prerequisite for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. More significantly, unwillginess of government or political interest in sanitation per say,J.Edgardo campos and sanjay pradhan(2007) found that tackling corruption in the water and sanitation sector in some part of Africa was the primary reason for the MDGs not been on target as stipulated. Osumanu Issaka Kanton in Ghana mentioned African governments, like most countries in the developing world, face daunting tasks in their attempts to provide effective and equitable water and sanitation services for their ever increasing urban population,the paper however, contrasted that since the early 1990s the government of Ghana and many local authorities have entered into various public-private partnerships in urban water and sanitation using Tamale as a case studies where private has done nothing invigorated public sector not have achieved and therefore concluded that there can be no sustainable improvement in water and sanitation provision without political commitment, stakeholder ownership and strong support for community driven initiatives(2008)

4.Over population

Poulation change seen as the major propeling factor for the MDGs in developing country with regards to water and sanitation(UNWPP,2005), (ENS,2008). fig 8 shows summary in the graph. The data from these graph was available from mainly from the estimates an medium variant. USAID monitoring report for 2006 MDGs, for instance, found that family planning practice will enhance the unmet MDGs to achieve the Goals by reducing the size of the targetted population groups which will then lowering the costs of meeting the MDGs in Sub-saharan Africa. Fig 9 table I.1 illustrates the report survey.Untill recently, (Esmarie Swanepoel,2008) publised article detailing africa falling behind on millennium development goals-UN as the proportion of people in sub saharan africa living below poverty decreased from 55.7% in 1990, to 50.3% in 2005. However, because of the population growth, the number of people in the region living in extreme poverty, grew by 100 million over the period. Using the below projections, the author (Dr.Jean –C. 2006 ) and others have reported distinct effect population growth has on Sub-sahara in terms of unsafe drinking water and sanitation in meeting the MDGs by the anticipated or stipulated year. Factually, the world health organisation (WHO,2004) annual assessment report substaintiate by saying that the world is on track to meet the drinking water target, but sub-sahara africa lags behind and conflict and political instability is a contributory factor with high rate of population growth and low priority given to water and sanitation will be a mirage. The paper concluded that whats more is the reason been the breakdown of water supply systems in rural africa is of high rates. One of the effective approaches shown to be accetable and helping the progress process drawn by the paper was decentralising responsibility and ownership and providing a choice of service level to communties based on their willingness and ability to pay.Urban population growth was estimated to increased in growth in developing countries from 1.9 billion to 3.9 billion 2030, averaging 3.2% per year which is a major challenge for achieving MDG sanitation(UNESCO IHE,2007). The diagramme in fig 8 and fig9 indicates the percentage of the population living in major cities. The arguement goes to intensify the fact that water supply and sanitation will be an acute shorter for a decades to come.


:UNICEF(data online)

5. Conclusion

In short this paper looks at the slow progress of Millennium Development Goals with focus in developing countries especially sub saharan africa with respect to water and sanitation and various factors affecting the progress.The article then went further in reviewing various studies and literature presented by authors , analysing other views in the subject area and detailing sanitation situation in the case of Ghana.

It was found that the systems of infrastructure has made it difficult for the MDGs team to montior effectively the progress and concrete availability of data was inevitable for correlation in knowing the exact people in sub saharan africa that are not covered as far as water and sanitation is concern. Governments interest in investing much funds in sanitary projects was seen lagging other projects in Africa even like health sectors was seen stampeding such as water sector was progressing steadily as compared to specifically sanitation due to high poverty in some countries and HIV/AIDS among others demanding. Therefore,the was the need for donor organisations to increase aid for the developing world.

High population growth and inapproperiate use of low technologies were another contributory constraints in achieving the MDG since the number of populates in african countries was increased drastically by a substantial amount with diseases and malnutrion been high among children 0-5 years of age and rising in birth was due to either unexpected pregnancy or unaware or misapplication of farmily planning medicine at their possession.

Skilled labour constraints therefore was one of the impediments that contributed tremendously bad towards the goals of the MDG in wardly due to the fact that skilled migrates leave the developing countries not only for better salaries and rumerations but virtue of better health care systems in developed world. In some cases institutional capacity building was seen as vital challenge for the MDGs in africa which some where in Asia for example Nepal it was much the same similarity.

However, despite various studies been carried out by viable institutions and authors with different methods of approaches in addressing the Millennium Development Goals in water and sanitation, the plans has little consistency between different countries , thus making it difficult for policy makers to measure and track progress and so therefore Septentie appraisal of attitudes of stakeholders to the factors limiting progress to MDG.


The Author wish to acknowledge other writer's for their assidious and great workdone and for the support provided by Dr.John Williams of Portsmouth University.

It is also our pledge to send our sincere gratitude for the University Liberians for their kind gesture and contributions towards and during the literature review session.

8. Reference

Summary of reference;





Health and Poverty

· The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) has clear objectives towards increasing access to improved potable water and sanitation as key to achieving health outcomes and sustained poverty reduction. Some of the targets include:



Rural population with access to safe water



Rural population with access to household latrine



Urban population with access to safe water



Urban population with access to household latrine



GPRS 2003

Lack of political will biggest obstacle to improving sanitation – Secretary-General

22 March 2008 – A lack of political will remains the greatest obstacle to efforts to drastically reduce the number of people without access to basic sanitation and clean, running water, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on the international community to take firmer and faster steps to tackle the problem.

"If we take up the challenge, the positive impact will reverberate far beyond better access to clean water," Mr. Ban said in a message to mark World Water Day, which is celebrated today. This year's Day also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation.

"Every dollar invested in water and sanitation yields an estimate seven dollars worth of productive activity. And that comes on top of the immeasurable gains in cutting poverty, improving health and raising living standards."

The Secretary-General described it as unconscionable that a child dies on average every 20 seconds because of sub-standard sanitation conditions – a situation endured by an estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide, or more than a third of the global population – that are preventable.

"Poor sanitation combines with a lack of safe drinking water and inadequate hygiene to contribute to the terrible global death toll. Those who survive face diminished chances of living a healthy and productive existence. Children, especially girls, are forced to stay out of school, while hygiene-related diseases keep adults from engaging in productive work."

Halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) devised at a global leaders' summit in 2000, but the world is far behind the pace to achieve that by the target date of 2015, Mr. Ban said.

"Experts predict that by 2015, 2.1 billion people will still lack basic sanitation. At the present rate, sub-Saharan Africa will not reach the target until 2076."

This year's World Water Day also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation.

Population growth, widespread poverty and insufficient investment are among the key obstacles, but the Secretary-General noted that "the biggest culprit" is the lack of political will.

Events are being held around the world this weekend to highlight World Water Day, including the staging of a public toilet queue demonstration to raise awareness about the sanitation crisis around the globe. A similar event was held in New York's Central Park on Thursday. Wold bank graphic showing the failure of Africa to meet the MDGs.

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