GHANA— The first of its kind waste management in Ghana, the Kumasi Medical Waste Treatment Facility, has been successfully put up and commissioned in Adegya, Ashanti Region.

The Kumasi Medical Waste Treatment facility is part of a broader initiative undertaken by the E&S (Environmental & Sanitation) group, operating under the Jospong Group of companies in collaboration with the Ghanaian government.

Their joint effort aims to establish 14 centralized medical waste treatment facilities throughout the country.

The primary purpose of the Kumasi Medical Waste Treatment facility is to collect and treat hazardous health waste components, including used syringes, blood-stained materials, pathological waste, COVID-19 waste, and waste from vaccination exercises.

The facility is equipped with two state-of-the-art Microwave Treatment Equipment that have a daily capacity to handle an average of 10,000kg (10 tonnes) of hazardous waste.

The non-incineration technique employed by the equipment ensures there are no atmospheric pollutants released, promoting environmental health and safety.

Overall, the facility will play a crucial role in addressing the proper management and treatment of hazardous healthcare waste in Ghana.

Moreover, by utilizing advanced technology, recycling capabilities, and adhering to environmental and safety standards, the facility contributes to the achievement of national and international sustainability goals.

Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Asei Seini, who commissioned the plant, said the facility signified the commitment of the country to safeguard public health, preserving the environment for sustainable development.

Minister Seini stressed that medical waste comprised potentially infectious and hazardous materials which posed a great threat to human health and the ecosystem, if not managed properly.

“It is critical that we adopt responsible and efficient measures to prevent the spread of diseases, protect our health workers and minimise the impact on the environment,” Minister Seini emphasized.

Minister Seini also noted that the facility would serve all healthcare facilities within the region and neighbouring towns and serve as a learning facility for health students in the region.

The Executive Director, of Processing Cluster E&S Group, Haida Said, noted that the pandemic brought into focus the need to be cautious in handling medical waste to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in the country.

Hiahene, Professor Oheneba Boakye Adjei, who represented Otumfuor Osei Tutu II, commended the partnership between the Government of Ghana, the Ecosteryl of Belgium, and the Jospong Group for bringing the project to life.

“It also aligns with the environmental sanitation and plastic policy that will significantly reduce plastic waste,” she noted. 

The managing medical waste in Ghana

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, noted that the management of medical waste in the country had always been a challenge.

He added that in the last two years, Ghana had dispensed over 22 million vaccines, excluding those for children, and as such the management of the waste was a challenge to the service.

“We are currently carrying out open burning of waste, incinerators with its accompanying high electricity consumption cost and so there’s a need to transform to a safer, efficient and environmentally friendly system, and what we have here provides this excellent result. We are happy to be part of this transformation,” Dr. Kuma-Aboagye remarked.

This equipment not only effectively treats the waste but also recycles it, adding value and reducing the amount of waste destined for landfill sites.

In addition to the treatment equipment, the facility features a cold room for waste storage and specialized waste trucks for transporting medical waste from various healthcare facilities to the treatment site.

The facility also aligns with Ghana’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically contributing to the goals related to environmental sustainability, health and decent work, and economic growth.

The establishment of the Kumasi medical waste treatment facility brings significant socio-economic benefits to the community and the country.

It is expected to generate over 200 direct and indirect employment opportunities for the community members.

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