The Ministry of Health should help Adjumani and Masaka hospitals sort out their piles of medical wastes and stop random disposal. Masaka hospital’s pit is now filled up and medical wastes dumped on open ground, while Adjumani has its incinerator blown up because of overuse. As a result, support staff at Adjumani hospital dumps the wastes within the enclosure of the incinerator because they cannot burn them.
Unless the ministry and the district authorities move fast, this devil-may-care disposal predisposes the residents to serious health risks, environmental pollution, and even water sources being polluted. This situation means some solid wastes such as used cotton wool, blood stained bandages, surgical gloves and blades, syringes, blood drip bottles and plastic bottles cannot be disposed of entirely.
So just fencing of the stinky open-pit as suggested by Masaka Resident District Commissioner Linos Ngompek is not enough. Neither is the suggested frequent but uncontrolled burning to stop the wastes piling up any better. These options won’t amply protect the residents from these hazardous wastes. Neither would this burn entirely some solid wastes such as needles.
The two hospitals should do better to safeguard the environments, health of staff and residents. And the durable choice here is for the hospital authorities to quickly restore the machines for burning medical wastes. The incinerators have higher capacity burn rates and should consume the higher volume wastes, including surgical dressings, bed linen and mattresses. For Adjumani, a higher capacity incinerator should be fitted. This would better suit what hospital administrator Michael Ojja called its overuse because of non-stop wastes generation and disposal.
Even as a pre-emptive, the medical authorities should keenly monitor and enforce secure disposal of hospital wastes. This is crucial because different medical units generate different medical wastes. Others are glass wares, some surgical blades, yet others are deadly infectious wastes, including diseased body parts.
This is even more crucial in light of the ravages of the highly transmissible and deadly Marburg and Ebola viral diseases. Marburg virus disease, like the one that causes Ebola, spreads very easily by human to human contact through contact with bodily fluids, including blood, saliva, vomits, stool and urine. This requires local governments to institute strict waste management byelaws and supervision. Likewise, Adjumani and Masaka hospitals should fix their wastes issues by prompt on-site incineration to avoid health risks and environmental hazards.
The issue: Waste management
Our view: Adjumani and Masaka hospitals should fix their wastes issues by prompt on-site incineration to avoid health risks and environmental hazards.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor