Two Lecturers at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, Dr. Prince Antwi-Agyei and Dr. Nana Osei Bonsu Ackerson have secured a grant of US$ 20,000 from WaterAid in the United Kingdom to research and assess occupational health and safety risks among Latrine Pit Emptiers and public toilet operators in urban Ghana.
The one-year research project, which is a collaboration between UENR and the Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED) in Mampong, seeks to investigate occupational health and safety risks associated with pit emptying and public toilet operations in urban Ghana. It focuses on assessing the regulatory health and safety provisions guiding the operations of these workers; an assessment of the health risks due to exposure to faecal sludge among these workers, and the development of strategies to address the occupational and health safety risks facing these workers.
The Principal Investigator of the Project, Dr. Prince Antwi-Agyei, further explaining the rationale for the project said sanitation workers including pit emptiers, janitors and others involved in faecal waste management provide an essential public service but often at the cost of their dignity, safety, health, and living conditions often invisible, unquantified, and ostracized hence, they need greater recognition, policy and regulatory reforms to safeguard their rights.
Dr. Isaac Monney, a Senior Lecturer heading Department of Environmental Health and Sanitation Education of AAMUSTED and Dr. Nana Osei Bonsu Ackerson are the co-investigators on the project.