CLEAR LEADERSHIP NEEDED TO TACKLE MEDICAL WASTE

Government has been called upon to show clear leadership to address the imminent challenge medical waste disposal poses to Ghanaians in this COVID-19 era.

To safely dispose off medical waste, which experts say has shot up by 20 per cent within this COVID-19 era, discussants at the NCCE/EU’s 5th Virtual Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme (ARAP) National Dialogue, on the theme: ‘Good Environmental Governance and the Coronavirus Pandemic’ called for urgent action by the Government to address the waste generated in the country.  

This year’s ARAP National dialogue, moderated by Lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini, a Private Legal Practitioner and aired on Joy FM and Joy News was organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) with support from the European Union (EU).

The Panelists entreated the Government, and the Ministries of Health, Environment, Local Government and Rural Development, and Sanitation to work together with the private sector to ensure the effective management of waste in the country.

While calling for the enforcement of the by-laws on waste Management at all levels, the discussants suggested the strengthening of systems to properly manage medical waste in the country.

Engineer Senam Tengey, Manager, Medical Waste Department of Zoomlion Ltd, called for the urgent establishment of a centralised Infectious Medical Waste or Hazardous Waste Treatment facilities in all the regions of Ghana to manage the waste generated nationwide.

He said there is need for a public private sector collaboration to support health facilities set up proper waste management centres to effectively manage the waste.“To overcome COVID-19, we need good leadership and personal responsibility,” he stressed.

Dr. Emmanuel Odame, Director of Policy Planning at the Ministry of Health who outlined some efforts Government has taken to train some people in carting medical waste from health facilities, said since COVID-19 is here with us, we should all be vigilant and abide by the rule.

He said with COVID-19, “we are in the world of the unknown, we need the mind-set to learn and think on our feet” stressing that the environmental governance is key for us to protect the world for the future.  

Similarly, Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI Africa, observed that the combined efforts of leadership, medical facilities and infrastructure issues were good, but stated that “unless waste management is seen as a business where all those involved in the business are rewarded,” we cannot make much progress.

He urged the Government to among other things invest in covered drains instead of the open drainages in the country and to support Ghanaian waste management companies to address the management of waste in the country.

In a remark, Ms. Josephine Nkrumah, Chairman of the NCCE, highlighted the effect COVID-19 has had on the world in the past six months. She therefore stressed the need to harmonise a more functional waste management practices as well as the proper segregation of waste especially in our homes and work places to avoid the spread of the disease.

The Chairman also thanked the moderator, Lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini and the Panellists, as well as the EU for the support.

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