Reducing Maternal and Newborn Infections with an Energy Generating Incinerator

Organization: 
Jhpiego Corporation
Organization Location: 
Baltimore, MD, USA

Jhpiego, in partnership with the Community Cooker Foundation (CCF), proposes modifying a proven cost-effective and environmentally safe innovation, the Community Cooker (CC), for waste disposal in health care settings in Kenya.  Maternity wards are one of the highest producers of medical waste. Unsafe disposal of medical waste in health facilities can lead to life-threatening infections including sepsis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and others. Fifteen percent of maternal deaths and 25% of neonatal deaths are due to sepsis and other infections. If successful in being modified, the CC will be a cost-saving and income-generating alternative to traditional medical incinerators, easily scaled up across urban areas in Kenya and East Africa. In addition, community health workers will be involved in the management of the CC, thereby increasing community awareness and engagement in the benefits and importance of antenatal care and skilled attendance at birth in facility settings. A waste-to-energy technology designed for use in low-resource settings, the CC uses water and waste oil dripped on a heated plate to rapidly generate temperatures over 800°F required for safe incineration. In addition to safely incinerating medical waste, the CC will provide warm water piped into the maternity ward for clean bathing facilities for women, and improved hand washing among health care personnel (shown to reduce infections). It may also provide potential income generation through provision of hot meals and other small-scale industry applications.

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