- Kenyatta National Hospital generates 3,000kgs of clinical waste daily. The plant shred's and microwaves 400kg per hour. Other county hospitals to get equipment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has increased waste due to use of many disposable masks and gloves.
Health facilities in Nairobi county will soon treat their clinical waste at Kenyatta National Hospital.
KNH management is working on a public-private partnership to ensure health facilities can pay for waste treatment at its plant.
The Clinical Waste Microwave equipment will shred clinical waste, then burn it in a microwave.
The units are used countrywide and the programme will be expanded.
Speaking at the launch of the plant on Friday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the Covid-19 pandemic has increased waste due to the use of many disposable masks and gloves.
“In these days of Covid, it scares me when you walk around and see all sorts of masks disposed all over the place. This is the place they should come so we can be sure that we are not spreading the disease all over,” Kagwe said.
He called for the allocation of more resources towards waste management in counties.
"Some countries produce power with waste, counties should look for ways of making use of waste," Kagwe said.
"The government is committed to embrace environment-friendly and cost-effective waste treatment and disposal technologies," he said.
The plant was procured from Belgium by the Ministry of Health in 2017.
Installation of the plant was completed on October 3, 2018, eight operators, seven electrician technologists and eight mechanical technicians were trained in operations and maintenance.
KNH board chairman George Ooko said he hospital generates an average of 3,000kgs of clinical waste daily.
The plant can shred and microwave 400kgs per hour and has been able to clear approximately 3,800 tons since it was set up in October.
“It has an extra capacity of 1.8 tons per day that can handle waste from other facilities and communities nearby,” director of Public Health Dr Francis Kuria said.
“In the spirit of cost-effectiveness, we are urging KNH and other counties receiving waste to partner with other communities and facilities and see if they can reduce the cost of running the equipment,” he said.
Phase I of the project was implemented through the Health ministry with support from Belgium.
It was implemented in 10 high-volume public and private healthcare facilities, including former provincial hospitals and two national referral hospitals.
Phase II is at an advanced stage and will soon be implemented in 15 counties.
The non-burn technology has been adopted in Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kisii, Machakos, Kakamega, Embu, Mombasa and Nyeri counties.
"It would cost the hospital Sh32 million annually if the waste were to be treated outside the hospital in line with Nema 2012 guidelines on hazardous waste management,” Ooko said.
Counties that have received the equipment have been urged to maintain it properly. They are also required to instal power backup systems as microwave sensors need to be managed carefully.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)