Rs1.6b Healthcare Waste Management Action Plan yet to be approved

ISLAMABAD The Ministry of Healths proposed Healthcare Waste Management Action Plan with an estimated cost of Rs1.6b is lying pending with the Planning Commission (PC) for approval since last one-year, TheNation has learnt. The action was taken due to lack of proper hospital waste management system in majority of the hospitals and due to that cases of hepatitis B, C and HIV AIDS are reportedly increasing. According to well-placed sources, contrary the 'Hospitals Waste Management Rules 2005, the major hospitals in the Capital City are operating without incinerators. All the hospitals claim that they send their hospital waste to different places. They are not dispatching total quantity, rather dispose of some infectious and non-infectious waste in open sewerage lines and dustbins sources further added. The Ministry in collaboration with Health Services Academy, World Health Organisation and other partners had finalised the HCWM Action Plan almost a year ago. Prior to the formulation of NAP a comprehensive survey was conducted countrywide to gauge the actual situation. The four provinces i.e. Punjab, NWFP, Balochistan, Sindh and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir were included in the survey. One tertiary care hospital in public and private sectors, two secondary care hospitals both public and private sectors and four first level care hospital in both public and private sectors were selected for the survey. The survey revealed that in all the four provinces Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan, and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, majority of the hospitals did not have either a health care waste management team or infection control room. According to the findings of the survey, HCWM practices within the health care facilities are not according to the guidelines established hence posing great harm to the health workers, patients and their attendants. Under the proposed NAP it was suggested that instead of installing separate incinerators in every hospital a new structure of Central Health Care Waste Treatment Facilities should be introduced. It costs low and includes all the required equipment within one system including incinerator, autoclave and microwave that is more efficient and sound. For sound implementation of the project under the plan it was proposed that a monitoring system should be established with adequate control procedures at national and regional level to ensure sustainability. As per rules set by the proposed NAP it would be must to ensure transportation of segregated waste from hospitals. All hospitals will follow Hospitals Waste Management Rules, 2005 and Ministry of Environments guidelines. Pakistan has laws on Healthcare Waste Management in the shape of Hospital Waste in the context of Environment Protection Act 1997 but still implementation of these rules is major challenge in the present scenario.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt