UNDP hands over equipment to bolster COVID-19 medical waste management in Kenya

UNDP hands over equipment to bolster COVID-19 medical waste management in Kenya

By Our Reporter

As part of the organisation’s ongoing support to strengthen national waste management efforts, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP has procured and handed over to the Government of Kenya, waste management equipment to be deployed in 13 pilot health centers across four counties.

The first handover ceremony for the Nairobi County equipment took place on 23 April 2020 at Mbagathi District Hospital, in Nairobi. The second hand-over ceremony for the equipment for Nakuru and Kisumu County facilities is slated for next week, Thursday 30th April at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital.

UNDP hands over equipment to bolster COVID-19 Medical Waste
Management in Kenya

The equipment includes key functional items for the full waste management process from triage to disposal, as
well as personal protective equipment (PPE). The use of the waste management equipment by the targeted
health facilities in Kisumu, Mombasa, Nairobi and Nakuru will demonstrate sound healthcare disposal
technologies through the adoption of Best Available Technology (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP).

Through the UNDP-GEF Sound Chemicals Management Mainstreaming and Unintended Persistent Organic Pollutants (UPOPs) Reduction in Kenya project, UNDP has been supporting the country in enhancing the proper management of waste within the hospital facilities by increasing segregation, reducing waste generation and by replacing the dangerous disposal waste modalities like open burning or burning in single chamber incinerators
with the Stockholm Convention-compliant equipment.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Walid Badawi extended his gratitude to partners, especially the Government of Kenya for their leadership and responsiveness in implementing the COVID-19 Management Strategy.

“We believe that the COVID-19 teaches us the importance of environmental management for our sustainable
future. We will have to double our efforts to ensure sound waste management, and specifically sound disposal
of harmful and hazardous waste from health and municipal facilities,” said Mr. Badawi.
UNDP is helping countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of our mission to eradicate
poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crisis and shocks. UNDP will both promote and implement a
response to COVID-19 that supports the country to face the challenges beyond the health sector, to both limit
the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate the potentially devastating impact it may have on vulnerable
populations and economies.

Several interventions to support the national and county-level COVID-19 response efforts are also planned,
including the supply of hazardous waste transfer vehicles, the refurbishment of incinerators and supply of
specialist equipment to the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Water Resources
Authority (WRA).
“In order to protect the ecological environment and human health and prevent spread of infections like COVID19, timely, orderly, efficient and harmless disposal of medical waste must be practiced,” Emphasised Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

UNDP has been a longstanding partner to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in promoting sustainable waste management practices, particularly those related to healthcare, as well as supporting the transition to Stockholm Convention-compliant waste management equipment.

Director of Public Health Dr. Kepha Ombacho speaking on behalf of the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of
Health stated that in the context of the current pandemic, improvement of infrastructure to manage infectious
waste was a critical requirement in the control of the covid-19 – she added that the “commodities handed over
will go a long way in supporting isolation centres within the project facilities in the four counties.”

The handover of equipment at Mbagathi District Hospital follows the announcement that $3.1m of committed
funds to a UNDP-led devolution project have been reprogrammed towards a rapid COVID-19 response; UNDP
will also engage in providing technical support around medical waste management under these measures,
which are targeted at both national and county levels.

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