New incinerators to safely dispose of clinical waste

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Tari Hospital and nine other health centres in the Hela province can now dispose their clinical waste in a safe manner – thanks to the Oil Search Health Foundation.

The Foundation, through a Global Fund grant, has purchased and installed ten incinerators at Tari hospital and Koroba, Magarima, Wabia, Fugwa, Dauli, Para, Hiwanda, Idawi and Juni health centres to assist them dispose clinical waste in a safe manner.

The incinerators will allows nurses to burn medical waste such as used syringes and needles, placentae, soiled products and more to safely dispose of sometimes dangerous medical waste.

OSHF staff and people from the community working together to erect the incinerator at Dauli Health Centre

The decision to purchase the incinerators followed consultation with Dr Hamiya Hewali, acting Hospital CEO and HELA PHA. A major rural health facilities assessment conducted by the Oil Search Health Foundation team had previously identified major deficiencies in waste management at these health centres, which were a threat to the safety of health workers and communities.

Installation of an incinerator at Margarima.

“It was identified during the assessment that most of the health facilities were operated without proper biomedical waste disposal, which was a major health hazard to the health workers and the community as a whole,’’ said Dr Julia Stinshoff  from the Oil Search Health Foundation.

Apart from purchasing and installing incinerators, the Foundation has also trained health workers at the health centres on how to use them to safely dispose hospital waste.

Health workers from these centres have expressed their gratitude to the Oil Search Health Foundation for this valuable donation,

which they said would help them with waste management and at the same time reduce the risk of cross infections.

The Oil Search Health Foundation’s major focus in Hela Province is on the HIV programme which commenced in 2011, working in close collaboration with the National Department of Health and the Provincial Health Authority.

The primary objective of this programme is to increase HIV counselling and testing services and increase access to anti-retroviral treatment, care and management of patients across all three districts in the Hela Province. The programme has now expanded to cover 24 facilities in three districts and six entry points within the Tari hospital – these are the outpatient department, family support centre, antenatal clinic, general medical and paediatric ward, maternity ward and STI and HIV clinic.

Even though the core focus is on supporting HIV services in the province, the Foundation has also supported health centres to improve their facilities and offer training and capacity building for the health workers. The Oil Search Health Foundation has also just recently supported the provincial health administration with the emergency response to the measles outbreak, treating more than 2,000 children at Tari hospital.

Kevin Gordon