Fostering hazardous healthcare waste management at Victoria Hospital
December 8, 2022
Port Louis, 8th December 2022 – The Government of Mauritius, with the support of the Government of Japan, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly launched a new 500L autoclave at Victoria Hospital to mark the partnership between the Ministry of Health and Wellness and UNDP. The autoclave aims at helping the Victoria Hospital to address the problem of hazardous healthcare waste management system, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in particular. The launch is part of a mission of the UNDP Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, who is leading a UNDP delegation to take stock of the various UNDP Mauritius initiatives with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
This initiative is under the Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in SIDS (ISLANDS) project. USD 1.3 M has been allocated under the GEF-7 cycle to assist the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the setting up of a central treatment facility for healthcare wastes to protect human health from exposure to infectious waste and the environment from the release of Unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (UPOPs). The 500L autoclave has an integrated shredder to minimize health and environment impacts of landfilling healthcare wastes. After the initialization process, the waste is rendered fragmented, non-toxic, largely solid and dry, and therefore safe to be disposed as regular municipal waste.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Dr. the Honorable Kailesh Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness; His Excellency, Mr. Shuichiro Kawaguchi, Ambassador of Japan; Her Excellency, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director, and Her Excellency Ms. Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Resident Representative for Mauritius and Seychelles.
The UNDP in Mauritius has a long-term collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness in reinforcing preparedness for response to health crises including through improvements of in-country health infrastructure, equipment and training of specialized health workers. In this regard, it was an opportunity for Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director to salute local efforts in transforming local health services. “Healthcare is not only about responding to disease but also about promoting wellness. I congratulate the Ministry of Health and Wellness for being at the forefront of transformation over the years, especially at the onset of the COVID- 19 crisis” she said
During the event, H.E Shuichiro Kawaguchi, Ambassador of Japan, reaffirmed that Mauritius can count on the support of Japan for development in the healthcare sector. “Japan has been able to strengthen its contribution to the health sector of Mauritius with the help of its longstanding partner, the UNDP. I am proud to see that the idea of extending the Laboratory Information Management Systems to the hospitals and flu clinics has proven more resourceful to the health system of Mauritius. However, the vulnerability as a small island state is still our concern and we have no hesitation to extend our assistance towards the Ministry of Health and Wellness.” he said.
Dr. The Honorable Kailesh K.S. Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness recognized the issue of hazardous healthcare wastes in Mauritius. He stated that “to address the problem of hazardous healthcare wastes, a 500 Litre autoclave with an integrated shredder has been procured to minimize health and environment impacts of landfilling healthcare wastes. The autoclave has already been installed and is fully operational and I’d like to point out that my ministry will scale up the usage of autoclaves in other regional hospitals.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the urgency for the implementation of a resilient healthcare system to not only address the pandemic but other related health services issues. Through the consolidated portfolio, the UNDP seeks to complement the recovery and transformation journey of the Ministry of Health and Wellness by strengthening capacities to respond efficiently and effectively to the immediate crises.
For more information and interview requests, please contact
Stéphane Bellerose, Communication Specialist, UNDP