The president Adama Barrow on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s first clinical waste treatment plant, which also marks the commissioning of the Ecosteryl 250 and Ecosteryl 75 waste treatment plants in Farato and at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital respectively.
The event, held at Farato, was graced by cabinet ministers, a delegation from the World Bank, senior government officials and a cross section of the community.
The project is being funded by the World Bank Group and is part of Gambia’s Covid-19 response initiatives and seeks to contribute to strengthening the health system capacity of the country.
This waste treatment machine Ecosteryl 250 located at Farato and the 75 at EFSTH employed a microwave technology for advanced and environmental friendly treatment of waste from health facilities.
For years, the Gambia lacked such equipment and knowledge in health waste disposal, thereby putting the population and communities, where some of this clinical waste is dumped, in great danger.
At the ceremony, Axel Van Trotsenburg, managing director of Operations, World Bank, said this was his first visit to The Gambia, further acknowledging the fact that he and delegation were impressed by the warmth hospitality and reception accorded them.
He also shared that WB community also experienced terrible difficult time over the last few years due to Covid-19 pandemic.
This, he said, had caused grief to the entire global community and also caused economic hardship and The Gambia is not an exception.
World Bank MD also spoke about the support extended by the bank to member countries which include The Gambia, noting that it is important to not only focus on crisis management, but also how to strengthen health services in countries.
For his part, Dr. Ahmad Lamin Samateh, minister for Health, described the event as a milestone achievement in the development of the country, most importantly the development of the health sector.
He thanked the World Bank team for their commitment and effort to make the country’s health sector second to none in the region. “And we have seen that mark has begun.”
Minister Samateh indicated that President Barrow has very good strategies for the country’s health sector and that one of these strategies is by coming up with good governance system structures.
He reminded that they inherited poor governance structures in the health sector, adding that one of these strategies is to ensure that there is efficiency, transparency and accountability in the sector.
Minister Samateh reminded this lofty goal is being pursued with a lot of vigour, adding that they have already started working with partners on some governance and reform process to strengthen the county’s health sector.
In his key note address, President Barrow expressed delight to inaugurate the country’s first clinical waste treatment plant, which also marks the commissioning of the Ecosteryl 250 and Ecosteryl 75 waste treatment plants in Farato and at Edward Farnacis Small Teaching Hospital respectively.
The project, he said, is one of several important projects funded by the World Bank.
“Today’s event marks a prominent milestone in the country’s health care service delivery and also highlights the fruitful relation between the government of The Gambia and the World Bank.”
The Gambian leader reminded that medical waste is harmful material produced by hospitals, health facilities and clinics and mostly goes untreated.
This, he said, could be harmful to human health as well as the environment.
Ousman Bojang, the governor of West Coast Region, acknowledged that clinical waste management posed challenges to the public and communities, describing the commissioning of the initiative as a great move towards making the community safer.
Fatou Sowe, the alkalo of Farato, welcomed the delegation to her community, describing the project as a milestone towards a safer community.