News - Dec 18, 2023 Facility Constructed to Improve Healthcare Waste Management at Baucau Hospital
The Hospital Regional (HOREX) Baucau is now better equipped to mitigate adverse impacts from hospital waste on the environment, hospital staff, waste workers, and the community with the recent construction of facilities to properly manage the disposal of healthcare waste from the hospital.
The disposal facility was constructed through funding and technical support provided by the PacWaste Plus, a European Union (EU) funded programme implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) that is assisting 14 Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste to improve economic, social, health, and environmental benefits by enhancing existing activities and building capacity and sustainability into waste management practices.
The exposure to waste generated in healthcare facilities has direct health impacts on the community, the personnel working in healthcare facilities, and the environment. Poorly handled medical waste by health care professionals, and waste management personnel has led to an elevated chance of disease and sickness. Improper management of healthcare wastes, through open burning on land adjacent to Baucau Hoapital leads to areas of contaminated land, unusable for other purposes, and in need of remediation.
As part of ongoing project work in Timor-Leste to enhance long-term healthcare waste management the PacWaste Plus programme with the National Directorate for the Environment under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Environment and the Ministry of Health (MoH) facilitated the construction of a facility to include burial pits for partially burned healthcare waste, visually impacted soil, anatomical waste, and sharps. Before the construction of this facility, waste was either burnt in open fields adjacent to the hospital wards or collected by local waste contractors for disposal.
The PacWaste Plus programme has also assisted in developing the National Healthcare Waste Management Strategy & Implementation Guidelines for Timor-Leste one of several strategic documents developed to assist the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health in effecting sustainable change in the management and treatment of healthcare waste generated in facilities across the country.
A 5-year Strategy Implementation Plan is being developed alongside the Strategy being led by the MoH staff. PacWastePlus continues to provide technical guidance to this effort.
The Timor-Leste project investment provided training on Healthcare Waste Management to over 150 hospital staff. Sixteen MoH staff were trained in the implementation of the course such that subsequent sessions of this training can be provided by these MoH-trained staff to hospital personnel on an as-needed basis.
The PacWaste Plus project has also assisted in the development of the Timor Leste Waste Management Guidelines which provides practical advice to assist authorities in the delivery of effective waste management practices in Timor-Leste, the goal of which is to improve human and environmental health outcomes for all Timorese.
The project will continue to work with MoH to repair incinerators at Baucau Hospital, Mabissee Hospital, and Suai Hospital in 2024.