KATHMANDU, August 6: The Government of People’s Republic of China and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly launched a new initiative in Nepal to support the country in COVID-19 response by improving the healthcare waste management system, under the framework of China’s South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF).
The UNDP will work closely with Department of Health Services under the Ministry of Health and Population of Government of Nepal and with seven COVID designated hospitals across the country, including Koshi Hospital, Biratnagar; Narayani Hospital, Birgunj; Janakpur Hospital, Janakpurdham; Shree Birendra Hospital, Chhauni; Rapti Provincial Hospital, Tulsipur; and Bheri Hospital, Nepalgunj, according to a joint statement issued by UNDP and ChinaAid.
The joint effort will support upgrading of hospital waste management systems by providing support in the form of autoclaves, setting up waste treatment areas, and training the healthcare workers on their use as well as proper means to manage medical waste. It is anticipated that 350 healthcare professionals will be provided with the required technical skill-set on proper management of healthcare waste. Alongside this, 100 officials from the local government will also be trained on better handling of health emergencies.
“In parallel, the initiative works to increase the public’s knowledge and preparedness on medical waste management by developing Public Service Announcements in various local languages in Nepal,” said the statement. “Youth volunteers from 300 urban and rural municipalities will be mobilized to conduct an online campaign to raise awareness on this important issue.”
Speaking of the joint initiatives, the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi expressed hope that Nepal will benefit from the project, and the haze of COVID-19 pandemic will disperse as soon as possible with the joint efforts of all countries around the world. This initiative is part of the SSCAF COVID-19 regional project in Asia and the Pacific and will directly and indirectly benefit over one million people.
“UNDP is privileged to enter into a tripartite agreement with the Ministry of Health and Population and China Aid to help demonstrate how we can improve the healthcare waste management system in Nepal. Besides Nepal, similar initiatives are initiated by UNDP and China Aid in the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos,” the statement quoted UNDP Resident Representative Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labe as saying.
This project is also expected to help the country meet its ambitious targets under the Sustainable Development Goals, and contribute to the most recently updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to support emission reductions particularly on waste management in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“As a matter of fact, Nepal has set 10-year targets to adopt and implement waste segregation, recycling and waste-to-energy programs in at least 100 municipalities, and to enhance 1,400 healthcare facilities with proper management of healthcare waste through the application of non-burn technologies. UNDP wants to seize this opportunity to transform this crisis into an opportunity and bring changes to our behaviour to ensure a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for all in Nepal,” said the UNDP Resident Representative.