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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has supported the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) to locally produce hand sanitizers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections in health facilities in Ghana.
Through the intervention, UNDP donated 11,150 litres of hand sanitizers (5,000 pieces of 230ml bottles and 2,000 pieces of 5 litres refill bottles, with 162 dispensers) to the Ministry of Health to support 21 key facilities playing leading roles in the testing and management of COVID-19 cases across the country.
A press release issued by the UN agency on Friday said the provision of the hand sanitizers fell in line with UNDP’s multi-pronged approach to support the national COVID-19 response by promoting effective healthcare waste management.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Daniel Asare, thanked UNDP for responding to the call by President Nana Akufo-Addo for all stakeholders to support local innovations.
“For us in the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, this partnership is a demonstration of the capacity that exists locally in harnessing innovations to accelerate development.
We thank UNDP for believing in our capability”. UNDP also announced the procurement of consumables and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Ministry of Health to promote effective management of medical waste in the selected health facilities. They include 200 big infectious waste bins; 200 small infectious waste bins; 40,000 small infectious waste bags; 13,000 large infectious waste bags; 1,000 sharps containers; 1,000 safety masks; 200 safety goggles, and 100 working gloves.
Thanking UNDP for the gesture, the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, emphasised the importance of safe and effective healthcare and waste management, particularly amidst COVID-19, to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus.
“The management of medical waste has been a top priority in our healthcare service delivery, and this has now become more critical to ensure health workers and patients are protected sufficiently from the virus in our health facilities and in Ghana as a whole. We cherish our continued partnership with UNDP on health care waste management”, he noted.
According to the UN agency, to ensure a lasting impact of its healthcare response, UNDP was supporting medical waste management at different levels. At the policy level, UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, developed a briefing note for the National COVID-19 Management Team and relevant stakeholders on the importance of prioritising effective healthcare waste management during the pandemic.
“UNDP has also simplified the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) included in the national guidelines on healthcare waste management and produced about 1,000 posters to guide the mainstreaming of best healthcare waste management processes in health facilities across the country,” the release said.
In addition, the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HeFRA), under the Ministry of Health, is being supported by UNDP to undertake monitoring on the discharge of infection prevention and control policies and protocols in about 800 health facilities in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions. The Accra School of Hygiene have joined the HeFRA team, conducting on-the-spot training for frontline health personnel on healthcare waste management at the various facilities. Also, UNDP is working with the Ministry of Health to undertake healthcare waste management and infection prevention trainings in quarantine and isolation centres in the country.
Ms Gita Welch, acting Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, reiterated UNDP’s commitment to support the country’s efforts to effectively manage the pandemic and build a resilient health system, society and economy for the future.
“Our COVID-19 support builds on the results of the partnership that we have been enjoying with the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and WHO for the past four years, focusing on improving healthcare waste management in the country. We remain committed to this strong collaboration especially at these COVID-19 trying times for Ghanaians,” Ms Welch added.
The existing partnership on medical waste management with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also resulted in the establishment of policy and guidelines on healthcare waste management, as well as a modular course with the Accra School of Hygiene to provide certification programmes on healthcare waste management.
The medical waste project, which is supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), had trained over 800 health personnel in the past four years and provided autoclave treatment systems for selected healthcare facilities to adopt best environmental healthcare waste management practices in the country.
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