Regional Meeting on Health Care Waste Management in the WHO South East Asia Region-Bangkok, Thailand, 24-27 July 2023

The Regional Meeting on Health Care Waste Management in the WHO South
East Asia Region was convened in Bangkok, Thailand, from 24 to 27 July 2023.
The primary objectives of the meeting were to review and update the progress
made by countries in the region concerning safe and sustainable management of healthcare waste, especially during infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19.During the meeting, delegates from various countries engaged in fruitful
discussions on good practices, strategies, approaches, and technologies for the
safe and environmentally sustainable management of health care waste. The
participants emphasized the importance of climate-resilient and sustainable
health care facilities in reducing the environmental impact of healthcare waste.

One of the key highlights of the meeting was the heightened awareness
surrounding the linkages between emerging issues, such as climate change and
antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and health care waste management. The
delegates acknowledged the crucial role of Waste Management and WASH
practices in health care facilities in mitigating the spread of infectious diseases
and reducing the environmental burden of medical waste. This awareness further underscored the importance of adopting integrated approaches to healthcare waste management that consider the broader health and environmental implications.

As a result of the constructive deliberations, the participants reached a
consensus on the next steps to improve health care waste management systems
and processes at the country level. They recognized the need for collaborative
efforts and knowledge-sharing to enhance preparedness during infectious
disease outbreaks, promote sustainable waste management practices, and
implement climate-resilient solutions.

Mr Satish Sinha, Associate Director of Toxics Link represented the organisation
sharing his valuable insights and expertise to the discussions, contributing to a
comprehensive understanding of healthcare waste management challenges and
solutions. The Regional Meeting on Health Care Waste Management served as a
significant milestone in advancing safe and sustainable healthcare waste
management practices. The meeting’s outcomes are expected to guide countries
in the region towards adopting comprehensive strategies and actions that
promote environmental stewardship, public health, and emergency
preparedness.

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