Takuka, a community of 125 people has no health facility. The closest health care facility is the Daboya Community Health-Based Planning Services (CHPS) compound about six kilometers (6km) away. Diarrhea was a prevalent disease because their only source of water was a river that is usually turbid. It is not the best for consumption but, with no choice, most residents consumed it in its raw state. Only a few purified the water by boiling. Takuka, which used to source water from a river, is the latest community to taste potable water for the very first time.

 
Residents taking turns to fetch water from the borehole

The choice of their community as a site for the construction of a borehole came as good news. Takuka is amongst the communities in the West Mamprusi district of the Northern Region of Ghana that benefited from the USAID funded WASH for Health project.  In June, 2018, after two failed attempts, the third drill gushed out with water to the joy of many. “We thank USAID and Global Communities for this intervention. Now that we don’t drink dirty water, we don’t get diarrhea” were the exact words of Awusi Kwesi, a resident of Takuka community.

Constant availability and close proximity of water via the borehole to the community of farmers and fishermen, is the highlight of this intervention. “Water is always available and I can even fetch water at mid-night without encountering any difficulty”, said Sadia James a resident of Takuka.

Residents filling a drum with clean clear water
from the borehole    

Aside from the health benefits of the water, it saves community members money that was otherwise used to purchase firewood for water purification. “The borehole has reduced cost of treatment of water in terms of the use of firewood to boil and use the water” said Rukayat Nicholas, a homemaker. As a result, the community members frequent the borehole stand with large containers to fill their drums with clean and clear water for domestic purposes.

The Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) team of the WASH for Health project is undertaking a “Nutrition in Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene” (NuWASH) sensitization intervention. This intervention educates primary caregivers of children less than five years on the need to practice proper WASH behaviors during feeding and playtime, and the response of community members has been impressive.

Takuka means ‘Stop an enemy from invading’, a name chosen by the early warrior settlers who camped there to prevent other ethnic groups from invading the Mamprugu Kingdom. Decades later, these 21st century warriors are preventing the invasion of WASH related challenges. They were the first community in the West Mamprusi district to be declared Open Defecation Free in 2016.

WASH for Health is a five-year project, with support from USAID, that has been implementing various WASH related projects in deprived communities of 30 districts in five (Northern, Volta, Western, Central and Greater Accra) regions of Ghana since 2015.