Medical Waste Projects
The following are just some of the many projects being carried out by Health Care Without Harm and member organizations around the world.
- The Bagamoyo Project
- Hubli-Dharwad Medwaste Project
- Philippine Follow-Up Measles Elimination Campaign
- The GEF Project
The Bagamoyo Project
Bagamoyo District Hospital, near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is home to an exciting pilot project using an autoclave to sterilize infectious waste. Working with local NGOs AGENDA, JSI and UNDP/GEF, HCWH have trained staff in segregation and installed an autoclave and shredder. A waste management committee has also been set up.
Tests using simulated medical waste have shown the most efficient procedure to disinfect the waste. Read the technical report (pdf). Safety boxes full of syringes are also autoclaved and then shredded to make sure that the needles no longer pose a threat.
The new system was inaugurated in October 2008 and will be closely monitored and optimized for 12 months. After that it will continue to run as a model system.
Bagamoyo will also be the testing ground for technologies developed by the University of Dar es Salaam and the UNDP/GEF project.
Hubli-Dharwad Medwaste Project
India has had clear regulations on treatment of medical waste for nearly ten years, but they are rarely implemented. Health Care Without Harm and partner Toxics Link have trained all the staff of all the municipal hospitals in the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad in the state of Karnataka.
To help the hospital staff put the theory into practice, we have also set up model wards where project staff can monitor segregation, waste generation and safety issues closely, and help the hospitals solve problems as they arise.
In the coming year we will be expanding the training program, including training trainers so that the municipality will be able to maintain the skills levels in their hospitals. We will also start the process of replacing mercury thermometers and blood pressure meters. For more information about substituting mercury, see our mercury section.
For more on this project, read the project fact sheet and September 2009 Report, also known as KAP-Second (Knowledge, Attitude and Practices).
Philippine Follow-Up Measles Elimination Campaign (PMEC)
Immunisation is vital to prevent disease and save lives. However, large scale vaccination programs can create enormous amounts of waste. Often, waste is open burned or donors build cheap small scale incinerators which are used to burn syringes from the vaccination program and other medical waste after the vaccination program is over, perpetuating the problem of dioxin pollution.
In 2004, we collaborated with the Philippine Department of Health, in association with the World Health Organization, to demonstrate that viable alternatives to burning immunization waste exist. As a result, the Philippines became the first country to deal with waste from a nationwide vaccination program without resorting to incineration or open burning.
The Philippine Follow-Up Measles Elimination Campaign (PMEC) targeted an estimated 18 million children during the month of February 2004. In a little over a month, the PMEC generated an estimated 19.5 million syringes collected in 162,000 safety boxes, amounting to about 810,000 litres or 130,000 kg of sharps waste. Also produced were an additional 740,000 litres or 72,000 kg of non-hazardous waste (empty vaccine vials and ampoules, syringe wrappers, empty vitamin capsules, cotton swabs, syringe caps, and packaging).
The measles campaign presented an opportunity to demonstrate and document waste management and disposal without incineration or open burning during a mass immunization campaign. Read the executive summary or the full report.
The GEF Project
Together with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Program, Health Care Without Harm is implementing a Global Environment Facility funded initiative.
The project is titled "Demonstrating and Promoting Best Techniques and Practices for Reducing Health Care Waste to Avoid Environmental Releases of Dioxins and Mercury." It has been developed primarily under the GEF mandate to assist developing countries in meeting the objectives of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
The $10 million project will demonstrate dioxin and mercury-free medicine within model health care facilities. It is set to begin its implementation phase in eight participating countries: Argentina, India, Latvia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania and Vietnam.
The project's overall objective is to reduce environmental releases of dioxins and mercury by promoting best techniques and practices for reducing and managing health care waste.
We will meet this objective through the following components which each participating country will implement in collaboration with national governments, participating NGOs, professional associations, universities, hospitals and clinics:
- Developing model urban and rural hospitals that demonstrate approaches to eliminate dioxin and mercury
- Establishing national training and education programs on health care waste management to serve respective countries and the regions in which they sit
- Assuring that new management practices and systems piloted by the project are nationally documented, promoted, disseminated, replicated, and institutionalized
- Collaborating with Stockholm Convention National Implementation Plan preparation process
- Disseminating and replicating project results regionally and globally
We are also collaborating with University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to build and test low-cost, small- to medium-size non-incineration technologies for use in developing countries. The technologies will be manufactured using local resources and a range of energy sources including solar energy. The goal of the GEF project is to promote and replicate these technologies in other countries.
- Case Study - Nepal: Validating Autoclaves for Medical Waste Disinfection (pdf) Presentation by Ruth Stringer, HCWH's International Science and Policy Coordinator at SIGN Meeting, Dubai, Nov 2010
- GEF/UNDP Project: Demonstrating and Promoting Best Techniques and Practices for Reducing Healthcare Waste to Avoid Environmental Releases of Dioxins and Mercury (pdf)
- Hubli-Dharwad Sustainable Healthcare Waste Management Project (pdf)
- Non-Incineration Medical Waste Treatment Pilot Project at Bagamoyo District Hospital, Tanzania (pdf)
- Tanzania's project to replace an incinerator with a safer, non-burn waste treatment system (pdf)
- Testing a Waste Treament Autoclave at a Hospital in Tanzania: A Technical Brief (pdf)
- UN/GEF Global Healthcare Waste Project website
- Waste Management and Disposal During the Philippine Follow-Up Measles Campaign 2004: executive summary; full report (pdf)