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WASTE MANAGEMENT

KNH launches clinical waste microwave plant

Phase Two of the project is at an advanced stage and will soon be implemented in 15 counties.

In Summary

•KNH generates an average of 3000kgs (3 tones) of clinical waste daily.

•The microwave plant was procured from the Republic of Belgium by the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Health in 2017.

The Clinical Waste Microwave equipment commissioned at the Kenyatta National Hospital on June 3, 2021
The Clinical Waste Microwave equipment commissioned at the Kenyatta National Hospital on June 3, 2021

The Kenyatta National Hospital on Thursday launched Clinical Waste Microwave equipment to help in shredding waste at the facility.

The microwave plant was procured from the Republic of Belgium by the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Health in 2017.

The installation of the plant was finalized on October 3, 2018, where eight Operators, seven Electricians Technologists, and eight Mechanical Technicians were trained on operational and maintenance aspects.

According to KNH board chairman George Ooko, the hospital generates an average of 3,000kg (3 tones) of clinical waste daily.

The plant can shred and microwave 400kg per hour, and has been able to clear approximately 3,830,000kg (3.800 tones) of waste since installation.

“The waste if it were to be treated outside the hospital in line with the NEMA 2012 guidelines on hazardous waste management, would have cost the Hospital Sh32 million annually,” Ooko said.

“The equipment is a game-changer in the Ozone-depleting gases such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Furans, Dioxins Carbon monoxide which is common with incineration practices,” he added.

The CS Mutahi Kagwe during the commissioning of a Clinical Waste Microwave equipment at the Kenyatta National Hospital on June 3, 2021
The CS Mutahi Kagwe during the commissioning of a Clinical Waste Microwave equipment at the Kenyatta National Hospital on June 3, 2021

The first phase of the project, implemented through the ministry of health and county governments with the support of the Belgian government, was implemented in 10 high-volume public and private health-care facilities including former provincial hospitals and two national referral hospitals.

Phase Two of the project is at an advanced stage and will soon be implemented in 15 counties.

The non-burn technology has been embraced in the counties of Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kisii, Machakos, Kakamega, Embu, Mombasa, and Nyeri.

Speaking during the launch, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe noted that government is commited to embrace environmentally-friendly and cost-effective waste treatment and disposal technologies.

Kagwe noted that poor healthcare waste management exposes the population to infectious toxic or carcinogenic material which is associated with new HIV infections, spread of hepatitis B and C and cancers.

“The main mode of health care waste treatment in Kenya has been disease-fired incinerators prescribed for both high and low volume health facilities,” Kagwe said.

The CS acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased generation of waste due to the use of disposable masks and gloves in large quantities.

“Masks and gloves protect us but may also be a source of infection if not thrown away in the designated disposal facilities.”