CLIMA - How to manage infectious waste during pandemic spread

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Infectious waste management has become a priority for sanitary systems all over the world due to pandemic spreading. This is why Cospe Tunisia, an NGO which is partner of CLIMA project, decided to host a small series of webinars involving Lebanese and Tunisian partners and experts on this topic. The main aim is to discuss differences and strengths in both countries to develop a new synergy between them. 

The first webinar, moderated by Tunisian communication officer Amine Bouneuoes, was focused on the main theme of infectious waste management and saw the participation of technical experts and representatives of civil society including, as it was already said, journalists and union officials working both in Lebanon and Tunisia. The meeting was held in French on Zoom on August 31st from 9 AM in the morning (Tunisian hour) and 11 AM in the morning (Lebanese hour). The meeting highlighted the deep differences occurring between the two countries. At the same time, it was able to also clarify the similarities between them. 

As for Lebanon, medical waste management is mainly in charge of local NGOs which are also responsible for the infectious waste management guidelines, created in partnership with Lebanese authorities. On the other hand, Tunisia highlighted that the guidelines for their country have been decided by ANGED only, that is to say the National Agency for Waste Management. However, medical staff living in both countries faced various problems related to medical waste management, due especially to a general lack of preparation for the medical staff. 

In fact, while Lebanese waste management model mainly aims to a widespread economic efficiency and to environmental sustainability at the same time, Tunisian one is influenced by economy in the first place since private agencies are mainly in charges of waste management services. Moreover, private sector seems to not care about official sanitary registers in order to raise the profits. Furthermore, Lebanese economic and financial crisis is turning into a humanitarian crisis due to a lack of essential goods such as fuel and electricity. This is having a huge impact on medical structures and hospitals. Both countries agreed on the importance of facing the pandemic-related problems by investing in education, system management registers and register analysis.

Next webinars will focus on CLIMA project related issues in order to widen the opportunities to exchange experiences and to examine in depth other countries experiences.