Medical waste disposal sites ready for action

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Medical waste disposal centers have passed through their testing stages and will soon begin operating. Global Fund is behind the turnkey project which will be managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Incinco Ltd, a British company specializing in waste furnaces supplied and installed the machines.
Adhina Beri, who directs communication for the Pharmaceutical fund and supply agency said they are only waiting on two projects to finish and will soon be ready to start.
The centers were selected on the basis of accessibility and geographic locations. They include Adama, Nekemte, Hawassa, Dessie, Bahir Dar, Mekele Jimma, and Dire Dawa.
There are eight centers six are ready and the ones in Jimma and Dire Dawa were delayed.
“The local community in Dire Dawa was unhappy with the center being constructed there so we had to shift to Jigjiga,” Adhina said.
Ethiopian Medicine Supply Agency, which coordinates the projects is drafting directives on medical item disposal. This will affect public and private health institutions.
The draft directives will be tabled for discussion with stakeholders soon before they are sent to the Council of Ministers.
According to the Addis Ababa Health Employers Association, medical institutions pay close to 150 birr per kilogram to dispose of their medical waste so the service will save them money.
“Disposing medical items should be taken as one the duties of the municipalities as is done in some neighboring countries,” said Zelalem Fissha, President of the Addis Ababa Health Employers Association.
The agency has recruited professionals for every site in addition to warehouses.
Engineers are well trained and have taken on site job training and incarceration centers have been tested.
Those disposing of medical waste needs to be sorted out in advance because not all can be burned, according to Adhina.
The country inaugurated the first incinerator in Adama, some months back for pharmaceutical and medical waste management. Adama pharmaceutical warehouse is fully equipped with an intrusion control system, CCTV camera, and fire alarm.
According to the agency, the centers will incinerate the pharmaceutical waste, and drugs, and then move on to clinical waste.
Stakeholders strongly advised that the waste generated at healthcare facilities needs an adequate and appropriate management mechanism before disposal, including all activities involved in waste generation, segregation, transportation, storage, treatment and final disposal.
Nationally, 32.6 percent of the health facilities store medical waste in a covered container and about 27 percent of health facilities save it in another protected environment. The remaining 40 percent of health facilities store their medical waste in unprotected areas, the study explains.
The study also found out that 94 percent of the health facilities burn medical waste as a significant treatment method, among which only about 42 percent used a standard incinerator. The remaining facilities practice open-air incineration.