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Medical waste management plant to save county Sh32m every year

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy BENARD LUSIGI | Tue,Jul 06 2021 08:13:33 EAT
By BENARD LUSIGI | Tue,Jul 06 2021 08:13:33 EAT


Kakamega County Deputy Governor Philip Kutima (right) and other county officers inspect the medical waste management plant at Kakamega Referral Hospital recently. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s administration has commissioned an ultra-modern medical waste shredder at Kakamega County General Hospital (KCGH) to boost medical waste management.

The new Sh100 million facility has the capacity to shred at least 400 kilogrammes of biodegradable medical waste per hour, translating to 60 tonnes of waste every month.

Speaking during the launch on Wednesday, Kakamega Deputy Governor Philip Kutima said the plant will help the county save over Sh32 million annually in medical waste management expenses.

Prof Kutima said Kakamega was among devolved units which grappled with challenges related to medical waste disposal for many years. Most health facilities in the area have been experiencing difficulties in disposing of medical waste.

Yesterday, Kutima asked all hospitals and medical workers to stop disposing medical waste in dumpsites.

Medical waste collected from all the health facilities will be delivered at the plant for shredding, according to Kutima.

The project was a joint venture between the county government and the Belgian government.

According to Kutima, the county government spent Sh25 million on setting up the structure that will house the plant and fixing the power stabiliser and other external works.

He said the facility will help reduce Ozone-depleting gases which are common with incineration practices being done away with in local hospitals.

“This is a game-changer in regard to handling health waste and observing the health of the people in a manner that complies with Public Health Act cap 242 Laws of Kenya and National Environment Management Authority (Nema) Act of 2012,” said Kutima.

“If we were to treat the waste outside the hospital in line with Nema’s 2012 guidelines on hazardous waste management, it will be costly.”

“The new machine will have one operator, five medical technology officers, and seven public health officers who are fully trained and have expertise in handling medical waste.”

On average, Kakamega County produces at least three metric tonnes of clinical waste daily, according to the deputy governor. He said the plant could also serve Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, and Trans Nzoia counties given its enhanced capacity.

Kutima revealed that the county government was in the process of formulating a healthcare waste policy that will provide a framework to operationalise waste treatment and disposal.

The county Health Executive, Collins Matemba, confessed that many health facilities in the area lack the capacity to manage medical waste.

“Most of our health facilities do not have designated dumpsites for the medical waste and this exposes members of the public and health workers to risks,” said Dr Matemba.

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