Players in the waste management sector have appealed to government to regulate medical waste management in the country. This, they argue, aims at preventing infections of persons, as well as maintaining a healthy environment and improved sanitation.
Durmus Findkci who is Chief Executive Officer of Zoompak, a Zoomlion-partnered medical waste treatment facility in Accra, lamented some challenges in the medical waste management in the country. He indicated that some health facilities’ poor handling of their medical waste is worrying as that poses danger to human lives.
According to him, some hospitals even refuse collection of their medical waste by experts, and some of those who do, sometimes mix pathology waste with normal waste, a practice that is unacceptable, hence the call for some regulations and controls.
“The hospitals which produce and generate this waste should be controlled and monitored by the Ministry of Health and other authorities. What is happening, unfortunately in Accra is that, some hospitals that deal with certain waste collection companies, mix their medical waste with normal waste.
This issue is a public service issue, and it involves everyone. If there is no control and it is not obligatory with proper regulations for collection and management of the waste, all our effort would be lost,” he told members of the Parliamentary Press Corps when they toured some waste management facilities under the Jospong Group of Companies.
Mr. Findkci stressed that the facility is one of a kind on the African continent, hence the need for government to give it maximum support. “Zoompak is equipped to get rid of medical waste under hygienic conditions and safe for the environment and the people. The Ministry of Health must control all the processes of the sector and also support the investors in terms of funding as the cost of operating the facility is currently born by the investors,” he stated.
Medical waste, which is a by-product of health care includes sharp objects like syringes, blades; non-sharp ones such as blood contaminated items, blood, body parts and tissues, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and radioactive materials, among others.
According to the World Health Organisation, up to 20 percent of health-care wastes are infectious. Inadequate waste management such as poor waste segregation, WHO says will result in the increase of infections and consequently will multiply the risk of contamination.
In a bid to generate revenue to deal with the challenges in the country’s sanitation sector, the government in the 2021 Budget Statement proposed a-10 pesewa levy, called Sanitation and Pollution Levy on purchased petroleum products.
Parliament has also approved the sum of GH¢560.93 million for the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources as budget estimate for the implementation of the sector Ministry’s programmes in the year 2021.
Part of the major proposed programmes of the ministry to start in the year were the re-engineering of landfill sites at Kpone and Oti, revamping and reconstruction of poorly managed landfill facilities, and construction of more sustainable state-of-the-art treatment plants for both solid and liquid waste in selected location across the country and to construct waste recycling and compost plants across the country.