News - Dec 14, 2021 Improved Long-Term Management of Healthcare Waste Project Formalised

To help improve healthcare waste management for the protection of the health of Timor-Leste communities and the environment has been formalised by an innovative project partnership that provides sustainable solutions for healthcare waste management.

Efforts of the Timor-Leste Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation – National Authorising Office, the Ministry of Health, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), through the European Union-funded PacWastePlus programme enables the implementation of several interconnected activities to improve long-term management of healthcare waste in Timor-Leste.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two ministries and SPREP on 24 September 2021 that defines the project partnership and permits the commencement of planned project actions. The signing of this MoU formally allows to progress of the implementation of an innovative and sustainable solution for Timor-Leste’s healthcare waste management.

The MoU provides a framework of co-operation, agreed project actions and responsibilities between SPREP and both Ministries to work in partnership and implement the healthcare waste management project through the PacWastePlus programme.

There are significant health risks to healthcare workers and the community when they are exposed to healthcare waste. To manage these risks the project will enable the development of a National Healthcare Waste Strategy (2021 – 2026) for Timor-Leste, and subsequently, establish Healthcare Waste Management Plans consistent with the national strategy for individual hospitals.

Awareness of the inherent hazards of healthcare wastes will be addressed through activities, including the provision of training, support for waste transport infrastructure and the provision of personal protection equipment (PPE).

The strategies, policies, plans and capacity building activities implemented through the project will assist the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health to reduce the potential for healthcare workers exposed to healthcare wastes.

The project will provide direct resources and support to the Guido Valadares National Hospital in Dili, the Maliana Referral Hospital, the Suai Referral Hospital, the Baucau Referral Hospital, and the Maubisse Referral Hospital, whilst the main capacity building activities will be delivered to the Ministry of Health, so they can update and implement to other healthcare facilities as needed.

The project will assist to establish a good healthcare waste management system in the hospitals and improve the capacity of human resources to properly manage the medical waste in the future. The PacWastePlus programme will provide technical assistance and engage expert consultants as required during the project implementation.