Benchmarking Health Care Waste Management and DRR Capacities in Five Asian Countries


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Benchmarking Health Care Waste Management and DRR Capacities in Five Asian Countries

September 29, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic made apparent the existing gaps and weaknesses in the health systems of developing countries in the Asia and the Pacific region, encompassing the aspects of policies, processes, infrastructure, and human resources. Moreover, the pandemic exposed the inequities in the development priorities within the health sector that could undermine countries’ achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including disaster preparedness and resilience. One of the immediate and dire consequences of the pandemic was the increased volume of waste generated at health care facilities (HCFs), including hazardous waste, which raises the critical issue of safe health care waste management (HCWM) practices at all HCF levels. 

UNDP, in partnership with the Government of China, implemented a regional project titled, “Learning from China’s Experience to Improve the Ability of Response to COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific Region”, to support the strengthening of COVID-19 waste management in five countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, and the Philippines. Through this regional project, the DRT at the UNDP BRH, in collaboration with the UNDP Country Offices in the project countries, conducted comprehensive regional research on the HCWM practices and disaster risk reduction (DRR) capacities of HCFs in these countries. 

This report documents the key findings and analysis from a benchmarking assessment of the HCWM capacities of the five countries, as well as from a benchmarking assessment of the incorporation of disaster risk reduction measures in health care facilities. The report includes recommendations for the five countries to improve their HCWM systems, as well as for regional-level actions for improved HCWM and related DRR measures.