Volta Region Gets State-Of-The-Art Medical Waste Treatment Plant

State Of The Art Medical Waste Treatment Plant At Akrofu Agorve
State Of The Art Medical Waste Treatment Plant At Akrofu Agorve

Story: Benjamin Makafui Attipoe, Akrofu-Agorve

The Jospong Group of Companies (JGC), in collaboration with the Government of Ghana (GOG), unveiled a multi-million dollar medical waste treatment facility at Akrofu-Agorve in the Ho Municipality of the Volta Region. It is the second of fourteen such centralized plants established nationwide.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, in his State Of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2021, promised to construct sixteen (16) Integrated Recycling and Composting Plants (IRECOP) and fourteen (14) Medical Waste Treatment (MWT) facilities across the country. The Volta Region is lucky to benefit from the two (2) unconventional facilities, with the ongoing IRECOP project about eighty (80) percent completed.

The commissioning of the MTW facility was in partial fulfillment of the President’s vision of promoting proper waste management and sanitation in the country. The plant can perform the following functions: collecting, treating, and disposing of the hazardous components of healthcare waste, which include used syringes, blood-stained materials, and pathological and Covid-19 waste. It will also process the waste from vaccination exercises, amongst others.

The equipment employs a non-incinerating technique in its operation, which ensures that no pollutants are released into the atmosphere to destabilize the environmental health and safety of the ecosystem.

Apart from serving the major medical centres in the Ho Municipality, the facility will also be of use to all healthcare facilities, including the hospitals and clinics within the eighteen (18) districts of the region and its environs. It has a cold room for waste storage and specialized waste trucks for transporting medical waste from the various health facilities to the treatment plant.

Speaking at the function, the Deputy Minister for Health (MOH), Hon. Mahama Asei Seini stressed the need for a continuous maintenance culture and audit of the facility for it to fully serve its purpose. According to him, the importance that the government attached to the construction of the facility could not be overstated, adding that the MOH would do everything possible through policy directives to ensure that the facility was well patronized by all health facilities in the region.

An Executive Director of the Environmental and Sanitation Processing Cluster (E&S Processing Cluster) with the JGC, Mr. Haidar Said acknowledged and commended the President for his unwavering support and commitment to the private sector as a partner in the nation’s development. He disclosed that the treatment facility has ultra-modern microwave equipment that allowed the plant to process an average of 10,000 kilograms or 10 metric tons of hazardous medical waste daily.

The equipment, according to the Executive Director, has the added advantage of recycling the treated waste to attain more value and also reduce the quantity of waste that would eventually go to land-field sites. Mr. Said was also grateful to the government and all other stakeholders in the health space for their contribution towards the successful execution of this all-important facility for the Volta Region.

The Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa thanked the Jospong Group for its collaboration with the government which had culminated in the construction of the edifice. According to him, the benefits of the facility were enormous. He observed that, apart from job creation opportunities for the teaming youth of the region, the waste treatment plant would enable health facilities in the region to effectively and efficiently dispose of their hazardous waste thereby ensuring the safety of the workers and the communities in which they served.

An official of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Madam Patricia Dovie-Sampson described the inauguration of the facility as a step in the right direction. She reiterated that the Ministry remained resolute in collaborating with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the vision of leaving no one behind in the provision of safe water and enhanced sanitation services, was achieved.

Speaking on behalf of the Director-General (DG) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kumah Aboagye as well as the Acting Regional Director of the GHS, Dr. Senanu Kwesi Dzokoto, the Deputy Director in-charge of Administration at the Regional Health Directorate, Mr. Edward Kaba noted that the construction and completion of the ultra-modern waste management and treatment plant was welcoming news to all stakeholders in the health sector.

According to him, the disposal of medical waste had been one of the biggest challenges facing the health sector. He was optimistic that the facility would, among other things enable the hospitals and other health facilities to focus on their core mandate of delivering quality healthcare to the public instead of managing waste.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ho Teaching Hospital, Dr. John Tampouri lauded the President for the construction of the ongoing IRECOP and also for the completion of the medical waste treatment facility. He pointed out that the importance of a facility like the medical waste treatment plant, could not be over-emphasized, adding that such a facility needed to be cited in the region.

In a speech read for him, the Registrar in charge of the Health Facilities Regulatory Authority (HeFRA), Dr. Philip Bannor said his outfit looked forward to working with health facilities across the country to ensure effective regulation and compliance of all opportunities, status, and policies.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Ho Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Hon. Divine Bossman said the commissioning of the plant demonstrated the government’s unwavering determination to prioritize environmental sustainability and public health among the populace. In his view, the Medical Waste Treatment facility would also serve as an integral component to achieving the Assembly’s goal of continuing to make the regional capital, Ho the oxygen city of the Republic of Ghana.

The Paramount Queen Mother of the Akrofu Traditional Area, Mamaga Akua Sabea Nyabor VII who chaired the function, called on the government to urgently tackle the poor nature of roads in the area. According to her, the current deplorable nature of roads in the traditional area with some leading to the waste treatment plants at Akrofu-Agorve, were nothing to write home about, adding that the situation could have far-reaching vehicle maintenance cost consequences for the managers of the facilities and owners of vehicles that would transport waste to the site for processing.

General Manager, of Medical Waste Services Limited, operators of the facility, Ing. Senam Tengey told our news team in an interview that his outfit would give capacity training skills to healthcare staff in the region to enable them do proper segregation of all the hazardous and non-hazardous waste to pave way for the specialized trucks to move from one facility to the other to collect and transport all the hazardous healthcare waste to the centralized waste treatment facility for processing.

The Medical Waste Treatment facility would be expected to create more than two hundred (200) direct and indirect job opportunities for the people of the region.

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