The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Health Sector Environmental Health Practitioners Association–Ghana (HeSEHPAG), has commended the Ministry of Health (MOH) for launching the Healthcare Waste Management Policy and Guidelines 2020 (HCWMP&G).
In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), the Council said the policy would enhance the work of Environmental Health Officers at health facilities and ensure effective Healthcare Waste Management at both public and private health facilities across the country.
The Council said the policy sought to “provide direction for effective, efficient and safe management of Health Care Waste (HCW) through the adoption of Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices to prevent injuries, infections and other hazards; protect and promote public health and the environment for sustainable development.”
It noted that, the HCWMP&G had assigned key role(s) to Environmental Health Officers practicing at various public and private health facilities across the country.
“The Environmental Health Officer shall be responsible for Health Care Waste Management and the Sanitary Conditions at the health care facility level. Also, the Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator and Environmental Health Officers shall be the representatives of Occupational and Environmental Health Unit (OEHU) at the facility level,” the Policy document stated, according to the Council.
In addition, “Environmental Health Officers in collaboration with the Estate Management Unit (EMU) of the Health Administration and Support Services (HASS) will collaborate with the Institutional Care Division (ICD) on the day-to-day responsibility for coordinating Waste Management activities,” it added.
The Council called on the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure the distribution of the document to all Regional, Municipal and District Health Directorates, and other sectors for implementation.
It also urged the Ministry to come up with an implementation plan or roadmap for the HCWMP&G, especially, because of the unabated rise in Ghana’s COVID-19 active cases.
“We believe that the HCWMP&G document is urgently needed to strictly ensure effective, safe and sanitary management of medical and infectious wastes being generated both in the communities and at the health care facilities such as used face/nose masks, tissue papers…” it stressed.
It advised the public to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols to contain the spread of the virus.