Wastes from medical laboratories contain dangerous microorganisms, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards that pose challenges to how they a disposed of and must be taken very seriously worldwide (UNDP, 2021). To reduce the risks of human infection and spread of diseases at Viral Load and Early Infant Diagnosis Point of Care Testing (VL/EID POCT) sites in Cameroon, Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS) has since January 2023 been engaged in donating waste bins to VL/EID POCT sites in five regions of Cameroon.
The Organization is donating these waste bins to 45 VL/EID POCT sites in the East, Centre, Adamawa, North and Far North regions of Cameroon with funding from The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These POCT sites carry out activities like HIV viral load testing, early infant diagnosis, TB diagnosis, COVID-19 and other medical diagnostics that generate waste that needs to be managed appropriately. This initiative, therefore, aims to improve on the long-standing waste management challenges identified at VL/EID POCT sites in these regions.
In the East Region of Cameroon, five VL/EID POCT sites benefit from the waste management materials donated. These sites include Regional Hospital Bertoua, Abong-Mbang District Hospital, Garoua Boulai District Hospital, Batouri District Hospital and Betare-Oya District Hospital.
“We are delighted with the waste management materials provided to us by GHSS. It is the first time our laboratory has received such biosafety support material from a partner. I will personally ensure the materials are judiciously used for the intended purpose,” Mr. Tafilli Richard, the Laboratory Head of the Bertoua Regional Hospital Laboratory, said shortly after receiving waste bins from the GHSS team in the East Region of Cameroon.
In the North Region of Cameroon, GHSS donated the waste bins to five VL/EID POCT laboratories. The Regional Technical Working Group Coordinator for the fight against HIV in the North Regions, Dr. Yakouba Liman, appreciated GHSS and its partners for the gesture and promised to ensure that they are prudently used in all beneficiary sites to improve waste management in the health facilities.
In the Far North Region of Cameroon, 13 Viral Load and Early Infant Diagnosis POCT laboratories are benefiting from these standard waste bins. At the same time, 14 sites in the Centre Region of Cameroon will also benefit. GHSS will also donate the waste management material to eight VL/EID POCT laboratories in the Adamawa Region. The waste bin donation aligns with GHSS’ drive to strengthen health systems for quality and improved clinical, laboratory, and disease surveillance in resource-poor countries.
UNDP. (2021). Medical waste: why it is so important to dispose of it correctly. https://www.undp.org/kyrgyzstan/news/medical-waste-why-it-so-important-dispose-it-correctly#:~:text=All%20medical%20waste%20must%20be,and%20dispose%20of%20medical%20waste.