The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Health Sector Environmental Health Practitioners Association–Ghana (HeSEHPAG), a registered professional Association for Environmental Health Officers practicing under the Ministry of Health (MOH) and its Agencies, and are regulated by the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) in accordance with the Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013 (Act 857);
Wishes to commend the Ministry of Health (MOH) for launching the Healthcare Waste Management Policy and Guidelines 2020 (HCWMP&>), which has come on time to strengthen the work of the Environmental Health Officers at the Health Facilities, to ensure effective Healthcare Waste Management at both Public and Private Health Facilities across the Country.
The NEC has sighted and has in its custody, the HCWMP&> document which seeks to “provide direction for effective, efficient and safe management of Health Care Waste (HCW) through the adoption of Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices to prevent injuries, infections and other hazards; protect and promote public health and the environment for sustainable development”.
The NEC is pleased to note that the HCWMP&> has recognized and assigned key role(s) to Environmental Health Officers practicing at various Public and Private Health Facilities across the Country. According to this Policy document, “The Environmental Health Officer shall be responsible for Health Care Waste Management and the Sanitary Conditions at the Health Care Facility Level”. Also, “The Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator and Environmental Health Officers shall be the representatives of Occupational and Environmental Health Unit (OEHU) at the facility level. In addition, “Environmental Health Officers in collaboration with the Estate Management Unit (EMU) of the Health Administration and Support Services (HASS) will collaborate with the Institutional Care Division (ICD) on the day-to-day responsibility for coordinating Waste Management activities”.
It is in this regard, that the NEC is expressing its gratitude and commendation to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for taken this bold step to strengthen the work of the Environmental Health Officers and the Environmental Health Profession at the Health Facility level, by launching the HCWMP&> to ensure effective and efficient health care delivery to achieve the Health for All goal of the Ministry and its Agencies.
However, the NEC is of great concern and very much worried about the current astronomical surge in the COVID-19 cases in Ghana on a daily basis as being reported by the Ghana Health Service (GHS). Therefore, we are kindly calling on the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure the distribution of this very important document to all Regional, Municipal and District Health Directorates, and other Sectors as soon as possible. Also, the Ministry must as a matter of urgency come up with an implementation plan or roadmap for the HCWMP&>, especially now that the number of our active cases are surging/increasing unabated. We believe that the HCWMP&> document is urgently needed to strictly ensure effective, safe and sanitary management of medical and infectious wastes being generated both in the communities and at the health care facilities such as used face/nose masks, tissue papers etc.
The NEC wishes to declare its support and willingness to work diligently with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to advance the prospects of Environmental Health in achieving the Health For All Goal in Ghana, and therefore is kindly entreating the Ministry of Health to engage and/or involve the leadership of the HeSEHPAG in all matters of the MOH that concerns Health, and/orrelate to Environmental Health or it’s practice under the MOH and its Agencies one of key its Stakeholders.
Furthermore, the NEC will like to kindly reiterate to our members and the general public that, the COVID-19 Disease is very real and the only key measures to stop the community and institutional spread of the Virus in Ghana are:
a) Strictly wearing of appropriate face masks at all times;
b) Frequent hand washing with soap under clean running water at all times;
c) Sanitizing of hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 70% alcohol;
d) Observing social distancing between you and others at least 1 metre apar at all times;
e) Strictly observing hygienic cough etiquette at all times;
f) Sanitary disposal of used personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as used face masks and tissue papers into appropriate waste bins.
For correspondence, please do not hesitate to kindly contact the following Executives;
Ms. Doreen Danso (National President, 0244215670)
Ms. Indatu Muniru Danjuma (General Secretary, 0244881061)
Mr. Samuel Yaw Agyemang-Badu (National Vice President, 0244371065)
Mr. Ebenezer Nsiah (National P.R.O, 0540771860)