Two new documents on policy and technical guidelines for the management of healthcare waste in Ghana has been launched by the Deputy Minister for Health, Madam Tina Mensah in Accra. The two documents, an outcome of a multi-sectoral collaboration between the Ministries of Health (MoH), Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), and Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) would be expected to address the challenges of managing healthcare waste in the current context.
Launching the document, Madam Tina Mensah said, nearly 85 per cent of healthcare waste generated through healthcare activities was non-hazardous, while 15 per cent remained infectious, toxic, or radioactive. However, not all healthcare wastes were properly disposed of after use, which she said, poses a great health risk to individuals and the entire eco-system. She said the 2006 Healthcare Waste Policy and Guidelines were revised to effectively respond to the current context of healthcare waste management to prevent injuries, infections, and other hazards.
She disclosed that the Ministry of Health had also reviewed the National Health Policy for Ghana (NHP 2020) and had developed a Universal Health Coverage Roadmap for the country. “These two over-arching health documents will provide Whole-of-Government and Whole-of-Society policy shifts in improving the health status of the population”, Madam Mensah said.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng said the on-going Covid-19 pandemic had brought to the fore, the importance of devising effective means of dealing with healthcare waste from health facilities and the public.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Mr Kwabena Oku-Afari, welcoming participants said, the timing of the launch of the two documents was appropriate since the world is in a pandemic, and its effect continues to negatively impact all facets of life including the environment and healthcare waste management.
He was optimistic that the implementation of the policy and technical guidelines would receive the support of all stakeholders to ensure improved healthcare waste management in Ghana.