United States Ambassador John Jones on Friday commissioned a $1M incinerator at the Bartica Hospital, which will improve healthcare waste management practices in the Region Seven community.
The medical institution previously did not have a safe way of disposal of Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) materials and these had had to be stored temporarily for five weeks before being transported to the Georgetown Public Hospital to be incinerated.
According to a press release from the US embassy, the new incinerator is a ‘De Montfort’ style one and the project is part of the Guyana Safer Injection Project (GSIP), which seeks to prevent the medical transmission of HIV by reducing unsafe and inappropriate injections in Guyana. GSIP is a component of the US government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). GSIP had developed a national strategy to improve injection safety, improve healthcare waste management, and educate the population about precautions that will reduce accidental transmission of HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases. A team from the US Embassy’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) HAP supervised the construction of the incinerator, which cost US$5000.
Speaking at the Commissioning ceremony, Ambassador Jones told the gathering of health official, medical care-givers, students and community officials that the US government, through its agencies was pleased to make its contribution to the improvement of Guyana’s health sector.
“The incinerator will provide for the on-site disposal of Regulated Medical Waste and as such will eliminate the need for storage and/or transport requirements as well as reduce the number of exposures to items such as needles that are potentially contaminated with communicable disease”, the release quoted the ambassador as stating.
It said that presently, hospitals in the region do not have a safe way to dispose of RMW, which is temporarily stored for five weeks before being transported to the GPH for incinerating and at Bartica, where possible, RMWs are burned in an open air environment behind the hospital and the ashes deposited into the river that parallels the hospital grounds.
Jones said that in conjunction with the GSIP, the HAP team will train operators on the proper procedures for operation of the incinerator and the safe disposal of RMW and the team will work with the Ministry of Health and other partners to help reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases through unsafe injection practices.
Also at the ceremony was Director of Standards and Technical Services of the Ministry of Health, Yvette Irving, who praised the project and its capacity to contribute to the reduction in new infections caused by “accidental contact” due to unsafe disposal practices. The release said that according to the World Health Organization approximately 20 million Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and 260,000 HIV infections annually are due to unsafe injection practices.