Increasing response capacity during health emergencies

By Ornella Najem, Communications Officer, UNDP Lebanon | Photo credit: UNDP Lebanon/ Rana Sweidan

September 6, 2021



“Our work is saving the lives of hospital patients, health workers, and the whole community,” said Mohammad Derbaj, director of the medical waste treatment facility in Abbassieh.

The repercussions of Lebanon’s economic downfall have had a crippling effect on the healthcare sector, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the overwhelming consequences and limited capacity to mitigate health hazards, the Abbassieh medical waste treatment facility was unable to cope with the significant increase in medical waste requiring specialized treatment.

UNDP alongside Germany through KfW, is enhancing the capacity of the only medical waste treatment facility in the South. The facility which used to treat 18 tons of waste per month is now managing up to 24 tons.

“We are working day and night to assist hospitals in treating the growing tons of waste caused by the pandemic,” expressed Oussama Baghdadi who recently joined the team.

By upgrading the facility’s operations through the expansion of the cold room and the procurement of an additional autoclave, bins and essential tools, the facility is receiving and treating the increased amounts of medical waste resulting from hospitals, dispensaries, and clinics across the South.

In addition, the upgraded facility, identified as a priority need by the community through the Mechanisms for Stability and Local Development committee, is creating much needed job opportunities for vulnerable people and providing a space to facilitate discussions on the critical health effects that might result from mishandling healthcare waste disposal and incineration.

“More and more people in the South are now aware of how important our work is and are approaching us to collaborate with us and be part of the solution,” Oussama added.