Medical waste being dumped around Abbasi Shaheed Hospital in Karachi – Pakistan

Syringes with intact needles and used vials are found in a garbage dump inside Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. – White Star

KARACHI: The scale of government apathy toward what health experts described as a "volatile source of infection" could be measured from the piles of neglected medical waste that is inside and outside one of the largest public hospitals in the city.

A visit to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) on Wednesday showed that there were three garbage dumps, one of them located within the boundary wall of the hospital's trauma center, where all kinds of medical waste was thrown.

Two garbage dumps, located a few meters from the hospital, were being used by nearby laboratories to dispose of their waste. Information collected from the ASH revealed that staff were using hospital facilities to dispose of medical waste for a long time.

No hospital administrative officer was immediately available for comment.

“Now, who would impose Section 144 here and eliminate these hazardous wastes that endanger public health? Do we need a celebrity to force the government to do its job, "said Dr. Qaiser Sajjad of the Pakistan Medical Association.

A PMA representative says that all institutions must work together for the good of people.

He was referring to Shaniera Akram's recent tweets about the state of Clifton Beach, parts of which were full of medical waste. The issue was highlighted by the media and woke up to the authorities, although for a while.

Further criticizing, Dr. Sajjad said that all institutions must work together for the public good.

“We know that ASH is under the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and its administration should resolve the matter. But, it is the responsibility of the provincial government to intervene when it sees that an institution cannot do its job due to some obstacle, financing or otherwise, "he said.

"Source of volatile infection"

Explaining how unattended waste throughout the city is affecting public health, Dr. Sajjad said it had now become so common that patients admitted to hospitals to undergo surgery became ill due to some infection, which The risk of complications increases.

“Every concerned citizen is worried about swarms of flies and mosquitoes, which have invaded the city. But, this problem becomes more serious in the case of health care facilities, which are supposed to be very clean, ”he said, adding that the government needed to analyze the problem of medical waste as a priority.

Speaking about the impact of neglected medical waste, Dr. Altaf Ahmed, representative of the Society for Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of Pakistan, explained that the dangerous thing about biological waste containing germs that cause diseases and toxic chemicals is that they It spreads with everything that comes in contact with it, including wind, rain, birds, insects, garbage collectors and even tires.

“So you can imagine the magnitude of the disaster it causes, since it affects hundreds and thousands of people. Medical waste is a volatile source of infection and must be collected by professionals.

"Given the poor civic conditions in which we live, it is not surprising that we see outbreaks of different diseases from time to time and antibiotic resistance is on the rise. Hospitals have become very insecure because they do not have established infection control practices ".

When asked what should be done, he said the government should teach and train hospital staff on infection control practices, in addition to establishing safe mechanisms to eliminate clinical waste and legislate on the issue.

“The old waste burning / incineration technology has been replaced by crushers that significantly reduce the size of the waste. Then, the garbage is disinfected and poured into landfills, ”he said, this procedure was environmentally safe as it did not involve the discharge of dangerous fumes.

No official from the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency was available for comment. The department is responsible for ensuring the implementation of hospital waste management standards in the province.

Posted in Dawn, September 6, 2019



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