Two Researchers from UENR Receive International Recognition and Award for Exceptional Research on Sanitation Workers

By URO

The Official News Centre

, University of Energy and Natural Resources - Sunyani

Dr Prince Antwi-Agyei (right) receiving an award for himself and on behalf of Dr Nana Osei-Bonsu Ackerson

Two researchers, Dr Prince Antwi-Agyei and Dr Nana Osei-Bonsu Ackerson from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Energy and Natural Resources have been acknowledged for their outstanding research on sanitation workers.

Their research study titled “How Risky is the Work of Sanitation Workers? A Quantitative Assessment of the Health and Safety Risks Among Latrine Operators and Emptiers in the Kumasi Metropolis” was honored with the third-place award in the Best Original Research Abstract category at the Sanitation Workers Research Award 2023.

The recognition was bestowed at the esteemed UNC Water and Health Conference 2023 held at the Water Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, spanning from October 22 to 27, 2023. Dr. Prince Antwi-Agyei, a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department, and the Principal Investigator of the study accepted the award on behalf of his esteemed co-researchers, namely Dr. Nana Osei-Bonsu Ackerson, a lecturer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UENR, and Prof. Isaac Monney from AAMUSTED – Mampong campus.

During the conference, Dr. Prince Antwi-Agyei was chosen to deliver a presentation discussing the methodology and insights gained from the research. This took place within a side session titled “Strengthening evidence on sanitation workers’ rights: what have we learned from efforts to support locally-led research?” organized by the coalition of sanitation workers. Additionally, he provided a verbal presentation accompanied by a compelling video documentary to present the research findings.

The research unveiled significant risks faced by the different sanitation worker categories, emphasizing the urgent need to safeguard their well-being. Key recommendations include incorporating the health and safety of sanitation workers into local sanitation bye-laws and establishing a robust monitoring and enforcement task force to ensure the provision and use of adequate protective equipment and working logistics.

The Initiative for Sanitation Workers (ISW) is an international advocacy collaboration involving SNV, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and WaterAid. Its primary goal is to safeguard sanitation providers as essential contributors to a crucial public service.