The equipment, supported through a project led by the Ministry of Health in partnership with UNDP and the Government of Japan, will help strengthen the healthcare waste management system and practices across 112 health centres in 15 districts.
Thimphu, 15 September 2023: The healthcare waste management equipment includes 112 fully automated autoclaves or waste sterilizers worth $1million, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gears worth $81,000 and 100 weighing scales. They were supported through the “Project for Improvement of Infectious Health Waste Management”— a Ministry of Health (MoH), UNDP and Government of Japan (GoJ) partnership.
These equipment were handed over to the MoH today at an event held at the Debsi Health Centre in Thimphu, attended by Health Minister Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, UNDP Resident Representative Mohammad Younus, officials from MoH, Thimphu Thromde and gewog health centres. The Minister for Economic Development from the Embassy of Japan in New Delhi, Ms. Kyoko Hoguko, joined the event virtually.
The safe and efficient management of infectious healthcare waste is imperative to safeguarding human health as well as that of the environment. The specialized healthcare waste management equipment will be distributed to 112 health centres across 15 districts and five cities in the country. It will help address the challenges and threats posed by inadequate healthcare waste management systems. The project will also support a fleet of five specialized medical waste trucks.
Health Minister Lyonpo Dechen Wagmo said infectious waste management is the backbone of quality healthcare service delivery. "During the pandemic, a lot of infectious waste was generated, and we had to burn it at the crematorium. That is when we realized that adequate investment has to be made for medical waste management."
“We sincerely hope that this Grant Aid will be effectively utilised and that the Bhutanese Government and health sector workers will be able to address the challenges of inadequate infrastructure for safe treatment, transportation and disposal of healthcare waste including the digitalization gaps,” said Ms Hoguko.
“This project, one of the several Bhutan-Japan-UNDP partnerships in recent years aimed at strengthening Bhutan’s health systems, is supporting the Ministry of Health to put in place sustainable solutions for safe treatment, transportation and disposal of infectious healthcare wastes. By equipping health centres, most of them in the remote parts of the country, we are ensuring the country’s remote, hard-to-reach population are not left behind,” said UNDP Resident Representative Mohammad Younus.
As part of the project, waste handlers are being trained on properly treating and handling infectious waste, which requires special treatment processes to prevent onward disease transmission to patients, hospital staff and nearby communities.
So far, more than 250 waste handlers from the healthcare centres, Thromdes and private waste management firms covering 12 western and southern districts, have been trained. Another 100 waste handlers from the eastern districts will be trained next week.
The project is also helping streamline gender in health care waste management to address challenges related to lack of gender friendly environment including services and equipment, limited awareness on gender equality and related issues, such as sexual exploitation. This is critical given 56% of the existing waste handlers in the hospitals and Primary Healthcare are women.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Dechen Wangmo, Communications Analyst, UNDP Bhutan, Email: email@example.com