The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has supported three health facilities in Ghana with non-incineration waste management equipment.
This is to help improve healthcare waste management and reduce the release of toxic substances into the environment at those facilities.
A press statement issued by the UNDP dated May 2, 2018 said the beneficiary hospitals are the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, the Koforidua Regional Hospital, and the Tegbi Health Centre, Keta.
Two other hospitals, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and Winneba Trauma Hospital, which are already using acceptable waste treatment technologies, received assorted personal protective equipment and waste bins also from the UNDP.
According to the UNDP, the goal of its medical waste project is to help Ghana comply with the Stockholm Convention, which aims at reducing the release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Explaining the rationale behind the intervention, Mr. Richard Amfo-Otu, the National Technical Advisor of the UNDP Medical Waste project, stated that: “The current practice at the health facilities is the use of incinerators which burn waste at low temperature.
“The burning of the waste emits Unintended Persistent Organic Pollutants (UPOPs), which contain cancer causing substances and other toxic pollutants that can give various diseases including cancer, tuberculosis, cholera, when people get exposed to these infectious wastes. So, the provision of the non-incineration technologies is expected to improve the general waste management in the health sector,” Mr Amfo-Otu stated.
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Earlier this year, about 400 mercury-free thermometers and sphygmomanometers were provided to the five facilities as part of efforts to phase-out mercury use in the health sector, under the Minamata Convention, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, the UNDP statement said.
At a ceremony held in Cape Coast to officially commission the non-incineration waste management equipment, Dr. Daniel Asare, the Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, indicated that the intervention will help the beneficiary hospitals to stop burning infectious waste which is detrimental to health.
He said “formerly we used to burn our waste using incinerators. But, with the autoclaves, our waste will be treated in an environmentally friendly manner and this will prevent the release of toxic substances into the environment”.