Management: the need for efficient coordination

To avoid having appropriate technologies but badly trained people or well trained staff lacking adequate equipment, efficient coordination of the different steps that need to be taken is required: in other words good planning and efficient management.

Setting out the general framework

Defining a National Policy for safe healthcare waste management and a Strategy to reach in the most cost-effective manner the objectives outlined are the usual next steps to be taken.

Designing a responsible authority and making sure healthcare waste management fits into the overall national waste management planning are important steps to be taken. Involving both the ministries of health and environment as well as including professional organizations and NGOs into the process will help give a broad support and legitimacy to the entire process.

Promoting participative approaches, also more demanding than top-down processes, usually show to be more effective in the end.

Taking a "picture" of the current situation

Conducting an initial country-wide assessment (using for example the WHO Rapid Assessment Tool) will provide useful data highlighting potential weak areas relating to HCWM that will need to be tackled in priority.

Planning for action

Based on the results of the field assessment, a National Action Plan (NAP) can be prepared.

This document should list specific actions that must be taken, structuring them by order of priority.

To ensure these actions are effectively carried out, it is indispensable to define clearly who's in charge and what are the measurable indicators of achievement that will help monitor progress.

Coordination and monitoring

A small efficient national steering committee for HCWM should be created to provide advice in the training, regulatory, technical and financial areas as well as coordinate specific task groups in charge of elaborating whatever guidance is required at both regional and HCF levels.

Monitoring the progress of the implementation of the National Action Plan and being able to make the necessary adjustments are important to keep the entire process on track.