By Oumie Mendy
President Adama Barrow on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s first ever Waste Treatment Plant in Farato attended by senior government functionaries and members of the public among other glittering array of high-profile guests. The project is funded by the World Bank as part of Gambia’s Covid-19 response initiatives and seeks to contribute to strengthening the health system capacity of the country.
The management of waste generated by health care, according to health experts, is the total stream of waste from health facilities including blood, body parts, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and in some cases radioactive materials.
The excitement among health officials over the inauguration of the waste plant was palpable at Tuesday’s launch following years of struggle.
According to President Barrow the Waste Treatment Plant has the capacity to treat medical waste generated in the country’s health facilities. “The machine will burn the medical waste to remove all the harmful substances that can cause health complications. The introduction of the modern waste treatment methods is therefore one of the most important strategies for infection prevention and control,” he said.
He said the waste plant has 3 modern refrigerated waste trucks to transport medical waste from all health facilities in The Gambia including privately owned facilities.
“We have already inaugurated 3 incinerators in each of the seven health regions of the country,” he said.
President Barrow said the government is committed towards transforming the country’s health sector by modernising its structures, providing standard equipment and building human capacity.
The World Bank representative, Alex van Trotsenburg said strengthening health care systems is one of World Bank’s top priorities.
“We have over the years worked closely with the ministry of health to sustain and improve the country’s quality health delivery for its people,” he said.
He said the World Bank is committed to continue supporting The Gambia in its efforts to transform the health sector.
The Minister of Health Ahmadou Samateh thanked the president for his immense support to enhance quality healthcare service.
The clinical waste treatment machine Ecostery 250 series would be capable of treating 300kg of clinical waste per hour with 99.9% disinfection efficiency. The plant is expected to end decades of worries and problems associated with piles of waste generated by the health ministry.