Kenya’s plans to reduce environmental and public health risks Thursday got a major boost following the unveiling of a microwave medical waste management machine at Kenya National Hospital.
Speaking during the commissioning, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the equipment employs non-burn technology from Belgium to incinerate medical waste.
“This is a critical milestone for Kenya as it heralds the end of open burning and crude disposal of healthcare waste in our health facilities and will go a long way towards reducing environmental and public health risks.” Said CS Kagwe.
He termed the new technology in the wake of the pandemic as timely noting that Covid-19 has increased the generation of waste due to the use of disposable masks and gloves in large quantities.
Poor healthcare waste management has exposed the population to infectious, toxic, or carcinogenic material which is associated with new HIV infections, spread of hepatitis B and C, and cancers.
While acknowledging the role masks and gloves play in protection against diseases, he noted that they may be a source of infection if not disposed of properly.
“This is even more important now since the COVID-19 pandemic has increased generation of waste due to the use of disposable masks and gloves in large quantities. Masks and gloves protect us but may be a source of infection if not thrown away in the designated disposal facilities,” noted Kagwe.
He reiterated that every Kenyan has the right to a clean and healthy environment and the highest health standards.
Through PATH and with the support of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as other partners, the Ministry has piloted the use of environmentally-friendly non burn technologies, autoclaves and shredders in six Level 4 hospitals in the country.
The same has been rolled out for use in 10 high-volume public and private healthcare facilities, including former provincial hospitals and the two national referral hospitals.
The first phase of the project, implemented through @MOH_Kenya & county governments with the support of the Belgian government, was implemented in 10 high-volume public and private health-care facilities including former provincial hospitals and two national referral hospitals. https://t.co/BlwaswTY3k pic.twitter.com/92vnY3F5fm
— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) June 3, 2021
Kagwe said 15 more counties are targeted in phase two of the project which is at an advanced stage.
Adding that: “The completion of this pilot phase in the 10 counties is an important milestone as it serves as a benchmark for future expansion. I am happy that preparations for Phase Two of the project are at an advanced stage and will be implemented in 15 counties soon.”