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Hospital waste posing health hazard



KATMANDU: Hazardous and infectious waste produced by hospitals is still being mixed with municipal waste, causing serious threat to human health.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), around 4,300 metric tonnes of waste is produced annually by hospitals, clinics, health centres and health posts. About 20 per cent of it is infectious and very harmful.

However, they are still mixed with municipal waste, said Sailendra Upreti, joint secretary at MoHP.

“Five to 30 per cent of infection among patients is related to waste,” he said.

Dinesh Dhakal of Health Care Foundation Nepal informed that a survey carried out in six hospitals showed that the waste produced by hospitals was dumped haphazardly on the streets.

“This has resulted in ground water contamination and river pollution. Even human organs, infected syringes and aborted foetus are mixed with general waste,” he said.

“The thrown syringes, which are collected and sold by garbage collectors, are being reused by some hospitals transmitting Hepatitis and HIV among people.”

Ganesh Dahal, representative of Nepal Bar Association, said the existing laws related to waste management were not effectively implemented.

“The government neither monitors the situation nor punishes culprits,” he said. “We have not heard a single action taken against them.”

Dr Sumitra Amatya, executive director at Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre, said some hospitals have managed their waste well, but others are violating the law.

“The Waste Management Act 2011 has clear provisions for segregation of waste, and makes hospitals and industries responsible for management of their hazardous waste and there are provisions of legal action, including cutting of state facilities and up to three months jail sentence,” Amatya said.

Speakers at the programme — Health Care Waste Management in Nepal — jointly organised today by the Ministry of Local Development, Nepal Medical Association and UNDP said hospitals, municipals, government and people were responsible.

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