The improvement of the waste management system in the Meiganga District Hospital, Adamawa Region of Cameroon, has reduced the risk and exposure of the close to 800 patients who visit the facility monthly, and some 164,859 persons living around the hospital from water borne diseases and other infectious ailments. This feedback was given by the Meiganga District Hospital Laboratory Supervisor, Madam Natido, while appreciating Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS) for its mentorship and training on waste management.
Waste disposal site before intervention. Waste Disposal Site After Intervention
The advent of the rainy season was a nightmare to the population of Meiganga, as rains washed off poorly disposed infectious wastes from hospitals into the wells, which a vast majority of them depend on for drinking water. A situation which exposed these denizens to water borne diseases and otherinfectious illnesses.
Cognizant of this, GHSS’ mentor to the Meiganga District Hospital carried out a root-cause analysis, which showed that the hospital had insufficient waste bins and no personnel in charge of waste management. It was also discovered that some hospital personnel did not understand the importance of proper waste management. Meanwhile the incinerator of the hospital has remained non-functional for over 7 months.
With this discovery, GHSS resorted to training the personnel of this hospital on Laboratory Quality Assurance and biosafety. The heads of different departments were sensitized on the importance of proper waste segregation and disposal. Meanwhile, baseline assessment feedback was presented to the Hospital Director. Discussions were also held on the non-conformities on waste management, and the implications to the patients and the population of that Division.
Moved by the recommendations from the GHSS Mentor, the hospital administrator, in March 2021, followed up the procurement of new waste bins and bags, which are enhancing waste segregation and disposal in two laboratories (labo A, Blood bank) of the hospital. The Meiganga hospital boss also designated a waste management personnel to follow up waste management within and outside the facility, ensuring proper incineration of infectious wastes. A new pit for dumping non-infectious wastes was also dug, a distance away from the general population, while the incinerator was repaired.
These alternative approaches were welcomed by the Laboratory Supervisor of the Meiganga District Hospital, with a lot of excitement.“Those pits were so exposed that we sometimes found kids playing around and picking stuff including syringes, from inside the pit. Indeed, with the incinerator back in use, we can now confidently dispose of infectious waste without fear of contaminating the public, especially the kids,” Madam Natidosaid.
Laboratory mentorship is one of the key strategies GHSS is using in strengthening health systems for quality and improved clinical, laboratory, and disease surveillance in resource-poor countries. It is being implemented with the support of PEPFAR/Cameroon CDC.