SSCAF COVID-19 Regional Project:  Learning from China’s Experience to Improve the Ability of Response to COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific Region on Medical Waste Management

Project Overview

Since 27 January 2020, when Cambodia confirmed the first case of COVID-19, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has implemented numerous measures to prevent its possible spread with technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Cambodian Ministry of Health (MoH) has played a central role in overseeing and containing the response to COVID-19 and providing medical advice and training to hospitals and health workers. The MoH has authorized three hospitals in Phnom Penh and 25 Provincial Referral Hospitals to order tests for and treat cases of COVID-19.

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) efforts with extensive aid support from China and other countries have significantly improved the country’s overall capacity to handle the COVID 19 pandemic. However, proper and safe treatment of medical waste infected by COVID-19, areas in which Cambodia has limited resources, expertise, and experience are one of the remaining critical challenges.

  • Thematic area: Medical Waste Management
  • Donors: Government of China, and UNDP
  • Project Duration: January to December 2021
  • Government Partner: Ministry of Health
  • Total Project Budget:  USD 914,750.00

Project Objective

The project aims to support the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in strengthening its ongoing efforts to manage infectious medical waste and protect Phnom Penh’s population and urban environment against the threat of COVID-19.

Project Outputs

Output 1: To properly manage the increasing volume of medical waste and wastewater in hospitals working with COVID-19 patients, which will lead to the prevention and minimization of health and environmental hazards within the city’s communities.

  • Provision of appropriate equipment for on-site treatment of solid waste and wastewater treatment through the use of non-incineration and non-chemical technologies (e.g. microwaves, washing machines, sterilizer and shredder (e.g. sterilwave (440)), wastewater treatment equipment) in accordance with WHO standards.
  • Provision of equipment for the collection and segregation of waste and storage facilities (e.g. trolleys, color-coded plastic bags/disposal bins).
  • Provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPEs) to ensure safe waste handling.

Output 2: The technical capacities of health care workers and service providers to develop and strengthen treatment of solid waste and wastewater (to minimize public health and environmental hazards).

  • Develop guidelines and communication materials for health care facilities and service providers about the collection, storage, treatment, and disposal of waste.
  • Provide training for health facility workers based on the WHO guidelines.
  • Develop guidelines and training materials for the proper management of equipment used in  treating infectious solid waste and wastewater ((e.g. microwaves, washing machines, sterilizer and shredder (e.g. sterilwave (440)), wastewater treatment equipment, PPEs in accordance) and the proper operation of existing incinerators to minimize environmental hazards.
  • Provide technical training materials and courses for health care professionals about the aforementioned types of technology and equipment.
  • Provide PPEs to sanitation and waste collection workers to protect against the risk of infection to ensure safe waste handling, disposal, transport, and off-site incineration.
  • Provide technical training materials and courses on health precautionary measures to waste collection workers and other exposed populations.

Output 3: Project results and best practices on medical waste management timely and widely disseminated.

  • In addition to media coverage, launch and hand-over events will be handled by UNDP and the Embassy of China.
  • Ensuring the use and visibility of "China Aid" logo on all produced reports and communication materials in accordance to the "China Aid" logo usage conditions.

Progress

Since the project’s approved in Mid-January 2021, much progress has been achieved.  An assessment report on the medical waste management of targeted healthcare facilities was finalized in March 2021, which was was shared with UNDP China and Chinese Experts. Also, discussions were held with both stakeholders on the way forward.

UNDP conducted a series of meetings and communication with the focal person from the Ministry of Health (MoH) to identify and consult on the proposed specification of the equipment. Identifying the different specs has made it easy for the procurement team to purchase suitable equipment.

The date for project launching, the concept note, and agenda as well as press release and other relevant materials were developed in close collaboration with the UNDP communication team.

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