Kamwi launches Integrated Waste Management Plan

WINDHOEK: Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi on Thursday launched the Integrated Waste Management Plan to ensure public health safety and the conservation of the environment.

Speaking at the event in Windhoek, Kamwi warned that syringes and other contaminated devices can harm a health worker if not properly used, or can be a danger to members of the community if picked up in clinics or hospitals.

“Improving infection control practices is a cornerstone of quality health care services; it is a cross cutting issue that affects all sections of health, including public and private as well as homes. Therefore, infection control should be everyone’s responsibility,” he noted.

Needles, syringes and other medical devices can harm patients when unsterile devices are re-used. This may transmit diseases, amongst others HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis (TB).

Kamwi explained that the waste management plan encourages proper waste management practices by all stakeholders in order to reduce risks of transmission of diseases and injuries, reduce environment pollution and improve waste minimisation strategies.

The plan is supporting the legal framework of eliminating challenges and providing monitoring solutions for compliance, and enforcing the prescriptions of various laws and by-laws.

In addition, it is a tool to identify and apply practical solutions for rural waste management through engaging the public.

Meanwhile, Kamwi applauded the University Research Corporation (URC) that is sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for its support to ensure that all injections offered in all health facilities in Namibia is safe.

The transition of the injection safety programme from URC to the MoHSS also took place during the same event.

Kamwi said Namibia made huge strides in infection control, including injection safety and waste management.

“Infection prevention and control of HIV and other blood-borne pathogens remains a cornerstone in any HIV response. This remains a priority for both the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Namibian Government to avert new HIV infections, both among health care workers and the community.

As part of infection prevention, injection safety and waste management plays an important role,” he added.

Some of the achievements within the collaboration include the development and operationalisation of policies and guidelines; capacity-building of health care workers and the incorporation of components of Infection Control activities in the pre-service training curriculums of health care providers; establishment of infection control committees in all the 34 districts; support on supplies and commodities such as safety boxes, color-coded bags for waste segregation and personal protective equipment (PPE); and the continuous monitoring and evaluation regarding infection prevention and control activities in health care facilities.

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