The WHO report titled “Global Analysis of Healthcare Waste in the context of COVID-19: status, impacts and recommendations”, launched on 1 February 2022, details how COVID-19 has forced the world to reckon with the gaps and neglected aspects of the waste stream and how we produce, use and discard of our health care resources, from cradle to grave.
This report includes special contributions from UNDP, the Global Fund, Health Care Without Harm, and the International Solid Waste Association.
The report is supported through ISWA by Dr. Anne Woolridge, chair of the ISWA Healthcare Waste Working Group and vice-chair of the ISWA Scientific and Technical Committee.
Learn some of the key findings here:
Report: Global Analysis of Healthcare Waste in the context of COVID-19
Widespread use of single use masks, gloves and test kit has generated extra tonnes of health care waste and exposed cracks in waste management, everywhere. Waste must be minimized and managed safely, for the health of both people and the environment.
COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination efforts led to large volumes of medical waste that strained many healthcare facilities. Solutions exist to keep health workers and patients safe, protect environment and minimize climate impacts. All medical activities that create waste need to resource solutions to addressing it.
The COVID-19 response is generating a mountain of extra waste.
Health systems and facilities must be resilient and green.
Using waste bags as an indicator of resources for waste management, the numbers were not sufficient to handle the PPE waste.
Many COVID-19 interactions do NOT require gloves yet gloves and non-essential items constituted the biggest volumes of waste procured by the UN system.