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POST TIME: 1 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Clinical waste management
It is hardly breaking news that a significant amount of hospital waste is left untreated to be disposed of in Dhaka’s dumping grounds or allowed to pollute the lakes and rivers

Clinical waste management

Separation, collection, storage, transportation and disposal of hospital waste are serious and neglected issues in Bangladesh. A serious absence of responsibility and basic knowledge exists among both the doctors and the management. Hospital wastes require specific treatment and management prior to their final disposal.

It is hardly breaking news that a significant amount of hospital waste is left untreated to be disposed of in Dhaka’s dumping grounds or allowed to flow and pollute the lakes and rivers in and around the city. Scavengers pick up the hospital wastes, thrown in open dumping sites, for reselling.

It goes without saying that hospital waste carries a high potential of deadly infections and diseases. Infectious healthcare waste can cause a variety of infections because they contain different pathological organisms. Improper handling of hospital waste can lead to serious public health consequences and also a significant adverse impact on the environment.

With a rapid increase in the number of hospitals, clinics and diagnostic laboratories in all the major cities of the country, the proper management of medical waste has become a serious cause for concern. It has been repeatedly revealed in the media that used needles, toxic chemicals and other infectious materials are picked up and resold. There is a lucrative market for healthcare waste in the recycling business.

Allegedly, the plastic ware industry is the biggest buyer of used syringes, infusion and blood bags. Dogs, cats and birds come in search of their food at  community waste sites and further spread the infectious materials in the locality. There are laws in Bangladesh regarding handling, treatment and disposal of waste. However, apparently, there is no regulatory body to ensure that the rules are being followed.

 Two methods including landfills and incineration can be used to dispose off medical waste. In the landfill method, hospital waste is buried underground. However as said earlier this is rarely done in Bangladesh. And there is no way to be sure that the landfill sites in the country are constructed on scientific lines. Very few hospitals of this country have incinerators. Medical experts recommend that the hospital waste must be segregated from domestic waste and stored in special containers. Proper landfills should be constructed and installing incinerators should be made mandatory for all hospitals.