Hospital Waste Management

In a hospital, most of the time, everyone is occupied with the services that is being provided and how good they are delivered to the service seeker. Well this would be true for any service for that matter. Often, one important aspect of service delivery that does not get enough attention, but equally important, the processes that go behind the scene, the Back Room.

Clinical waste desegregation bin at ADK Hospital

A number of activities are carried out behind the scenes. Waste management, laundry services, maintenance, power, IT and many more are kept intact by the efforts of many staff throughout the 24 hour operations.

Waste management is a serious activity for any hospital. Apart from just waste, hospitals generate hazardous waste. Hazardous waste are also further categorized and can be desegregated and treated and/or disposed off differently. Hazardous waste includes sharps, anatomical waste, clinical waste, contaminated waste, infectious waste, human tissue, cytotoxic, pharmaceutical waste, laboratory waste, chemical waste and radioactive waste.

In order to ensure that accidental exposure to such hazardous waste, for both staff and patients, hospitals have to ensure a proper process of managing such waste, including collection, handling and disposal. In the Maldives, clinical waste disposal is one aspect of health care that needs immense improvement. Lots of effort is required to ensure that hazardous waste is disposed safely.

At present, none of the health facilities in the Maldives have an exceptionally good waste management system. In many institutes, the collection and desegregation is present but at disposal all the waste get mixed up again. This means that there is no establishment that would collect the disposed waste on a desegregated manner and destroy them properly.

Hazardous waste, shredded and sterilized ready for mainstream disposal

It is thus important that, health facilities take an initiative to ensure that such mechanisms are put in place. Also, regulatory authorities should develop and implement guidelines to the effect.

In its endeavors to set standards in health related matters, ADK Hospital has initiated a new policy of improving its waste management. The main strength of the Hospital is that it has onsite incineration facilities. Though this may not be the best solution, it is a standard which is recognized adequate. Furthermore, in the Hospital waste is collected in a desegregated manner. Clinical waste is collected separately and incinerated on site. Similarly sharps are collected separately in sharp bins and incinerated too. Only general waste is what gets disposed of to the mainstream.

In the modern world, incineration has now been replaced by shredding and sterilizing hazardous waste so that it can easily be disposed off to the mainstream. Some of degrades by itself while others can be recycled. Perhaps thats what new investments in waste management should be headed towards.

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