Unsafe disposal of medical waste can expose health care workers, patients, and communities to bloodborne disease. In addition to infectious waste produced during routine health service delivery, HIV prevention, care, and support programs often generate medical waste through increased HIV testing.

AIDSTAR-One/Uganda is providing technical assistance to U.S. Government implementing partners to reduce medical transmission of HIV and other bloodborne pathogens through improved health care waste management (HCWM) practices at facilities where partner organizations provide HIV services.

AIDSTAR-One provides technical assistance in the following areas:

  • Training, capacity building, and raising awareness: The project provides technical guidance during the development of HCWM policies and guidelines as well as waste management training for health workers, including partner organization staff, district and health facility managers, health workers, and waste handlers. In addition, project staff work with the Ministry of Education to improve standards for injection safety and HCWM at practicum sites for nursing students.

    The project also promotes making post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and hepatitis B vaccinations available to protect front-line health care workers, which improves morale and retention of these valuable personnel.

  • Technical assistance to PEPFAR partners and the Ministry of Health: AIDSTAR-One/Uganda supports PEPFAR partners in developing and implementing HCWM plans. The project advocates for funding for partner organizations to support HCWM commodity and equipment costs, including the installation of waste disposal units at selected partner sites. It also provides coordination mechanisms for partners to discuss and plan collaboratively for HCWM interventions.

    AIDSTAR-One has also helped the Ministry of Health develop a multi-year HCWM plan, improve local engineering capacity in incinerator technology, and evaluate the performance of incinerators used for safe disposal of health care waste. The project provides technical assistance to ensure that incinerators meet World Health Organization standards in emission and temperature requirements.

  • Monitoring and evaluation: Through health facility assessments, AIDSTAR-One/Uganda is able to provide reliable data to PEPFAR partners and Ministry of Health officials to inform decisions on health care waste management. These data also informed deliberations at a meeting of national stakeholders to chart national policy on health care waste management.

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