The Liberian government, with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), last Thursday began the installation of autoclaves at two major health facilities to aid in the management of medical wastes, especially that of the Ebola Virus Disease at these healthcare centers.
The autoclave installation commenced as a pilot project at two government-run medical facilities, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) in Monrovia, Montserrado County and the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County.
The first of the two autoclaves was installed at the JFK in Monrovia on last Thursday. The two machines cost US$70,000.
UNDP is also supporting the training of different categories of healthcare workers and technicians at the two hospitals to manage the equipment.
Mr. Prince Stryker heads the Maintenance Department at the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia. He said the equipment will reduce the high level of pollution caused by burning medical and other forms of wastes at the hospital.
“This equipment, which will grill the dirt instead of burning, will be very helpful not only to the hospital but also the community around here,” Mr. Stryker said.
He said patients, employees, and community members frequently complain of serious pollution caused by the burning of garbage and medical wastes.
He indicated that the autoclave will help in the effective management of waste at the entity. Several employees, including Stryker, were trained in managing and maintaining the equipment.
Prior to the installation of the autoclaves, medical wastes at the JFK and other medical facilities in the country were burnt through different means, including the use of incinerators. The incinerator burns wastes but pollutes the air while the autoclave grills its wastes into shreads until nothing is left.
Victor Kwoh, National Autoclaves Installation and Management Consultant, said additional autoclaves would be acquired, based on the effectiveness and efficiency of the first two autoclaves at the JFK and Jackson F. Doe Hospitals. Mr. Kwoh said the different levels of staff members that are being trained will ensure that the equipment is properly handled and maintained for durability.
The locations for the installation of the autoclaves were decided based on a strategy developed by the Government involving the Ministry of Health, the Monrovia City Corporation, the Incident Management System (IMS) and UNIDO.
Consultants from UNDP's Global Health Waste Management team are installing the autoclaves, and training staff on their use, led by Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, who is one of the world leaders in this field.