UNDP joined partners from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Health at Mbagathi District Hospital to hand over equipment, including functional essentials for each stage of the medical waste management, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), to be used in Kenya's COVID-19 response (Photo: UNDP Kenya).

As part of our ongoing support to strengthen national waste management efforts, and in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP procured and handed over to the Government of Kenya, waste management equipment to be deployed at 13 pilot health centers across 4 Counties: Kisumu, Mombasa, Nairobi and Nakuru. The handover ceremony took place 23 April 2020 at Mbagathi District Hospital, in Nairobi.

The equipment includes key functional items for the full waste management process from triage to disposal, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE). The use of the waste management equipment by the targeted health facilities will demonstrate sound healthcare disposal technologies through the adoption of Best Available Technology (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP).

Speaking at the event, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Walid Badawi extended his gratitude to partners, especially the Government of Kenya for their leadership and responsiveness in implementing the COVID-19 Management Strategy.

We believe that the COVID-19 teaches us the importance of environmental management for our sustainable future. We will have to double our efforts to ensure sound waste management, and specifically sound disposal of harmful and hazardous waste from health and municipal facilities,” said Mr. Badawi.

PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, PS Ms. Susan Mochache of the Ministry of Health, and Ag. Director General Mr. Mamo B. Mamo of the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) were present at Mbagathi Hospital, leading delegations from their respective agencies to mark the handover.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, PS Ms. Susan Mochache thanked the partners and UNDP for the gesture.  “I want to sincerely thank the UPOPS project management and implementation unit together with the procurement unit for this support and gesture at the right time of need. Let me assure you that we take seriously this partnership and promise my [our] unwavering support to see to it that the project objectives are achieved at the time it comes to an end.”

Under this initiative, a number of significant future interventions in support of the COVID-19 response are also planned, including the supply of hazardous waste transfer vehicles, the refurbishment of incinerators to Stockholm Convention-compliant standards, and supply of specialist equipment to NEMA and the Water Resources Authority (WRA).

This intervention comes through the UNDP-GEF Sound Chemicals Management Mainstreaming and Unintended Persistent Organic Pollutants (UPOPs) Reduction in Kenya project. Through this initiative, UNDP has been a longstanding partner to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in promoting sustainable waste management practices, particularly those related to healthcare, as well as supporting the transition to Stockholm Convention-compliant waste management equipment. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry PS Chris Kiptoo mentioned at the handover ceremony that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has partnered with other stakeholders to reduce open burning of waste of these medical wastes.

I would conclude by thanking the Global Environment Facility, UNDP and all the project partners for supporting this country with initiatives that address the complex issue of chemicals, environment and Public Health. PS Kiptoo said, in his closing remarks.

The handover of equipment at Mbagathi District Hospital follows the announcement that $3.1m of committed funds to a UNDP-led devolution project have been reprogrammed towards a rapid COVID-19 response; UNDP will also engage in providing technical support around medical waste management under these measures, which are targeted at both national and county levels.

UNDP is helping countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of our mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crisis and shocks. In Kenya, UNDP is leading a UN-wide effort to establish the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 – an initiative which will inform future development programming, particularly during the recovery stages of the crisis.

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