LIRA, January 10, 2024 – The construction project for a giant incinerator at Aler composting site in Lira City West Division is about to be completed, according to officials responsible for the project.
The officials said days ago the incinerator will play an important role in managing hazardous medical waste produced by the various health facilities in the whole of Lango Sub-region.
Lango sub-region comprises nine districts and one city [Lira City] with more than 1000 health units ranging from health centre IIs, private clinics, and referral hospitals. However, the districts which include Alebtong, Amolatar, Apac, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Oyam, Otuke, and Kwania have been struggling with the management of medical waste.
Officials said the construction project that started in October 2022 is to cost government Shs 3,6 billion, about Shs 2bln is for the construction of the building structure while Shs 1.6 billion is budgeted for procurement and installation of the incinerator equipment.
The incinerator project is being handled by MS Bul Mark Associates contracted by the Ministry of Health with support from Global Fund. Lira Regional Referral Hospital and Lira City are the implementing partners of the project expected to protect the health of humans.
According to Leonard Otika, the Lira City Environment Officer, the incinerator will enable health facilities to collectively manage the medical waste, but also generate revenue for Lira City Council.
“The construction of the giant incinerator is a regional project that will receive all the hazardous medical waste from health facilities in Lango Sub-region for better management. We shall also be generating some revenue from private health units,” Otika added.
He said the poor management of medical waste affects the well-being of patients and other people around the site since it is a health risk.
He added: “There has been challenges in managing the medical waste because each of the government health centres, hospitals as well as private health clinics are managing the medical waste using micro incinerators at their own facilities.”
He said some of the health facilities and don’t have suitable sites to manage the medical waste, which he said, putting the health of patients and the neighbouring communities at the risk of catching some infections.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bernard Otucu, the Lira City Health Officer also confirmed to this reporter that some of the health centres carelessly dispose medical waste in the communities, which he said, is a serious health threat to both humans and animals.
He said the new incinerator to be installed should be able to do away with the improper disposal of medical waste, once it begins operating.
“My biggest concern has been the private, and not for profit health facilities. We have been doing inspections and evidence is that whereas a number of their medical waste is being burnt at the facilities, some of it is being disposed of indiscriminately in the communities, which is a public health concern,” Otucu said.
On his part, Dr. Patrick Buchan Ocen, the Lira District Health Officer said medical waste management is essential to curb infections that can be dangerous to humans.
“Waste management is one of the key functions of a district health system. In Lira district, we do not have incinerators due to limited resources, we still use hospital pits,” he said.
“We hope that the giant incinerator will help us a lot but as Lira district we pray that government increases resources so that we actually fulfil our dreams of constructing modern incinerators at Amac Health Centre IV and Ogur Health Centre IV,” he said.
Dr. Daniel Anyii, the Kristina Health Centre III in-charge in Otuke District said the giant incinerator will help control the emission of toxic gases that are harmful to humans and animals.
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