Four (4) newly procured 3 tonne Toyota trucks are ready for deployment to Isabel, Western, Malaita and Honiara City Council to help with the transporting and disposal of health care waste from Buala, Gizo, and Kilufi hospitals and Honiara City Council clinics to their respective incinerators.
Health care wastes and by-products include pathological wastes such as human tissues, body parts and organs. Sharp wastes like syringes, needles and blades. It also includes chemical and pharmaceutical wastes expired drugs and vaccines, infectious waste comprising of waste contaminated with blood and other bodily fluids as well as nonhazardous or general waste.
Health care waste that is not properly disposed of can cause injury and the spread of infectious diseases, therefore ensuring that they are disposed safely is critical toward protecting the health and lives of our people. This is even more important with the COVID-19 virus that is highly infectious meaning any wastes from COVID-19 related healthcare activities presents serious risks of spreading to the communities.
Recognizing this need, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Project Management Unit (PMU), tasked to manage the 40 million dollar funding support from World Bank for current COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts, purchased the four 3 tonne trucks that was officially commissioned on Friday this week for deployment and use.
Permanent Secretary of Health Mrs. Pauline McNeil highlighted that these vehicles are an outcome of field trips to the provinces coupled with meetings with provincial health counter parts and the national ministry of health is pleased to have provided the support.
“Turning around COVID-19 situation to our advantage to strengthen our health systems across the country where the majority of the population lives is amongst the top priorities of health during this pandemic time. Therefore, these transports procured and ready to be shipped to the provinces is part of the Ministry’s overall efforts to vamp up capacity and capability of our provincial health services”, explained Mrs. McNeil.
The relevant provincial health directors from the provinces that the vehicles will be shipped to were also in Honiara this week for the national health planning and budgeting for 2022 workshop and had the opportunity to attend the commissioning of the vehicles at the Ministry head quarter.
Speaking on their behalf, Honiara City Council Health Director Dr Christopher Becha thanked the World Bank for the funding support that had enabled the Ministry to make the purchase of the vehicles and the Ministry for identifying and swiftly addressing the issue of waste disposal.
“We will ensure that the vehicles are properly taken care of and used according to its purpose. With waste disposal we often use same vehicles for waste disposal for other runs for health staff thus poses health risks. With these new 3 tonne trucks, we will be able to carry out waste disposal in a safe manner”, said Dr Becha.
Wayne Irava, Health Specialist and Economist, World Bank, expressed appreciation to the Permanent Secretary of Health and her executive team at MHMS, including the PMU for their support, collaboration, and efforts.
“Truly pleased to witness the launching of these 4 new vehicles procured through our partnership. The World Bank is committed towards supporting the government of Solomon Islands in the fight against COVID-19 as we believe that having a healthy population is a key ingredient towards economic growth and thereby development. This COVID-19 pandemic is a threat, not only to our health and lives but also towards a country’s economy, and we are pleased to work alongside you and support your ongoing efforts”, said Mr Irava.