By Alvin Lansana Kargbo
Jhpiego, a renowned global health organization, on Thursday, February 1, 2024, launched the Healthcare Waste Management Strategic Plan during a ceremony held at the Bintumani Hotel in Aberdeen, Freetown, Sierra Leone. The event also marked the inauguration of the National Working Group aimed at addressing crucial gaps in healthcare waste management in the country.
The objectives of the launch encompassed sharing findings from assessments conducted in major health facilities, discussing potential solutions to identified gaps, and introducing participants to the strategic plan along with the terms of reference for the Technical Working Group members. The ceremony attracted representatives from various sectors including NGOs, Civil Society, Government bodies such as the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, UN agencies, the Global Fund, USAID, the World Bank, Local Government officials, and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health.
Dr. Ibrahim Seriki, the Project Lead from Jhpiego, stressed the importance of strengthening the health system in Sierra Leone, especially amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He highlighted the strategic plan’s objectives to address gaps in healthcare waste management and medical oxygen systems, emphasizing collaboration with the Government and other partners for successful implementation. Dr. Ibrahim Seriki underscored the ongoing nature of the initiative, highlighting its collaborative and continuous efforts.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Public Health, Dr. Alie Wurie highlighted the significance of risk management in the healthcare sector and the collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Health and international organizations. He expressed gratitude to Jhpiego for their continuous support and expertise in developing the Preventive Health Care Waste Management Plan. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of community engagement and ownership in the initiative.
During the event, the USAID representative emphasized the role of policy in driving healthcare waste management programs. He stressed the importance of policy alignment across various sectors and the need for frameworks and policies to drive programs beyond financial support. The representative acknowledged the challenges related to waste management and expressed USAID’s commitment to ensuring effective policy implementation.
Alfred Jamiru, representing the Ministry of Health, acknowledged the dedication of medical officers and emphasized the importance of collaboration between different ministries, particularly the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs. He discussed the challenges faced by the Government in managing resources but highlighted successful waste management examples through technology and partnership.
The launch of the Healthcare Waste Management Strategic Plan marks a significant milestone in Sierra Leone’s efforts to address healthcare waste management challenges, foster collaboration between stakeholders, and promote sustainable healthcare practices. With the commitment of key stakeholders and international partners, Sierra Leone is poised to make substantial progress in this critical area of public health.