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US$3M national medical waste management facility opened

Sunday, December 02, 2012 | 1:57 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — A National Medical Waste Management Facility, built at a cost of US$3 million with support from the World Bank under the National HIV/STI Control Project was opened recently.

The facility, located at Drummond Street in Kingston, is the only one of its kind in the island and uses steam sterilisation and shredding technology, determined to be the most cost-effective and appropriate technology for Jamaica.

Speaking at the event, health minister Fenton Ferguson said “it is an important benchmark in our thrust to strive to produce a modern and efficient public health sector that produces excellence and quality care at all levels. The Jamaican public must understand that waste disposal is a critical and essential component in this process.”

The minister said so far “we have developed a draft Medical Waste Management Policy for Jamaica and the existing Health Facility Infection Control Policies and Procedures Manual has been revised and updated.

“An estimate by the Ministry of Health indicates that the health sector generates approximately 1,000 tonnes of medical waste annually, of which 83 per cent is produced by public health care facilities,” Ferguson said.

The type of medical waste generated and sent for treatment at the plant include used syringes, and other sharp instruments, infectious and pathological wastes containing HIV and other blood-borne pathogens, hazardous chemicals, pharmaceutical products, genotoxic chemicals (which are highly dangerous), mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic chemicals (such as cytotoxic drugs used in cancer treatment and their metabolites), heavy metals, and radioactive wastes which may compromise public health if inadequately managed and disposed of.

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