Medical waste management critical

September 14, 2022 6:07 am

The Healthcare Waste Management Policy Workshop held in Suva yesterday. [Photo: Supplied]

Healthcare waste and how to manage it at all levels have become one of the critical concerns in Fiji.

Chief Health Inspector Vimal Deo highlighted this during a Healthcare Waste Management Policy Workshop held in Suva yesterday.

He says this was obvious during the COVID intervention period.

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Deo says medical waste is any kind of waste that contains infectious material and is recommended not to be transferred for infection control.

He says according to the World Health Organization, between 75% and 90% of the waste produced by healthcare providers is comparable to domestic waste and is usually called non-hazardous or general healthcare waste.

However, the remaining 10 to 25% of healthcare waste is regarded as hazardous and may pose a variety of environmental and health risks.

Deo adds most of the sub-divisional hospitals in Fiji transfer their medical wastes to divisional hospitals for incineration.

In 2011, 62,518kg of medical waste was incinerated in the three divisional hospitals.

However, some medical wastes are considered general waste and burnt or sent to landfill sites while some are buried on-site in some sub-divisional hospitals.

He says in this regard, urgent education is necessary for awareness promotion to relevant personnel in medical waste treatment.

Deo says over the course of the one-day workshop, all stakeholders, respective heads, organizations and participants confer opinions to finalize and strengthen the implementation of the policy so that waste is managed appropriately at all levels and stages.