Pasig LGU, Chinese Embassy, UNDP ink pact on medical waste management

Published June 23, 2022, 11:28 AM

by Khriscielle Yalao

The Pasig City local government, the United Nations Development Program Philippines (UNDP-PH), and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Philippines signed on Thursday, June 23, an agreement on medical waste management program.

Photo courtesy of Mayor Vico Sotto

According to the UNDP-PH, the project will operationalize “sustainable and environment-friendly healthcare waste management system in order to strengthen the country’s Covid-19 pandemic response.”

The partnership was forged as part of the UNDP-China South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF) Regional Healthcare Waste Management Project and funded by the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).

The project is also supported by the Metro Manila Center for Health Development and the Department of Health (DOH).

Photo courtesy of Mayor Vico Sotto

Through the program, necessary and adequate medical supplies will be provided to hospitals in Pasig City.

Notably, a containerized waste treatment autoclave will be installed at the Pasig City General Hospital (PCGH).

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said the autoclave will arrive later this year.

A digital waste registry or “E-healthcare Waste Management Registry” will be utilized to record data and monitor the stages of waste management which include the production, processing, and disposal of waste.

Four tablets pre-loaded with the application were given to the local government.

The program also involves conducting a series of capacity-building activities among healthcare workers in Pasig City.

Healthcare wastes include masks, gloves, gowns, SARS-Cov-2 rapid antigen test kits, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing cartilages, vaccine vials and needles, and other plastic packaging and containers used by medical frontliners, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A WHO news release in February 2022 said that “30% of healthcare facilities (60% in the least developed countries) are not equipped to handle existing waste loads, let alone the additional Covid-19 load.”

Mismanagement and neglect of healthcare waste expose health workers to injuries and other viruses, and breeds hazardous environments, particularly to communities residing in areas near landfills and waste disposal sites.

Medical waste may contribute to air contamination, poor water quality, and increase in pests that may carry diseases, according to the WHO report.

The Department of Health (DOH) has existing guidelines on implementing more sustainable ways of healthcare waste management and reduction, procurement, infection prevention, and control measures.

WHO’s report on the “Global analysis of healthcare waste in the context of COVID-19: status, impacts and recommendations” published in 2022 indicated an increase in waste generated in 51 DOH hospitals between 2019 and 2020, based on a study conducted to measure the waste management performance of hospitals during the pandemic.

An additional 70 tonnes of waste were generated, with an average of 1.4 tonnes per hospital between 2019 and 2020.