The term "Hospital" means a clinic, laboratory, dispensary, pharmacy, nursing home, health unit, maternity Centre, blood bank, autopsy Centre, mortuary, research institute, and veterinary institutions including any other facility involved in health care and biomedical activities.
Hospital waste includes both risk waste and non-risk waste. Following types of waste are produced by hospitals in different quantities:
- “Non-risk waste” includes paper and cardboard, packaging, food waste, and aerosols and the like.
- “Risk waste” means infectious waste, pathological waste, sharps, pharmaceutical waste, genotoxic waste, chemical waste, and radioactive waste.
- “Infectious Waste” means waste contaminated by any type of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasite or fungi and includes cultures from laboratory work, waste from surgeries and autopsies, waste from infected patients, discarded or disposable materials and equipment which have been in contact with such patients and infected animals from laboratories.
- “Pathological waste” includes tissues, organs, body parts, fetuses, blood and body fluids.
- “Pharmaceutical waste” includes expired or unused pharmaceutical products, spilled contaminated pharmaceutical products, surplus drugs, vaccine or sera and discarded items used in handling pharmaceutical such as bottles, boxes, gloves, masks, tubes, vials.
- “Radioactive waste” includes liquid, solid and gaseous waste contaminated with radionuclide generated from in-vitro analysis of body tissue and fluid, in-vivo body organ imaging and tumor localization, and investigation and therapeutic procedures.
- “Sharps” includes whether infected or not, needles, syringes, scalpels, infusion sets, saws and knives, blades, broken glass, and any other item that could cut or puncture.
Waste management includes waste segregation, waste collection, waste transportation, waste storage, waste disposal, and waste minimization and reuse.
There are many hospitals in the districts of Punjab which produce lots of wastes that can be harmful if not disposed of properly. One estimate shows that some 5.2 million people (including 4 million children) die each year from waste-related diseases. Hospital wastes pose a significant impact on health & environment. So there is a dire need for the enforcement and implementation of HWM rules in all the hospitals of Punjab for the proper handling, minimization and final disposal of the waste.
Techniques for Waste Disposal
- Steam Autoclave Disinfection
- Microwave Disinfection
- Mechanical/Chemical Disinfection
Recommendations to Mitigate Hazardous Impacts of Hospital Waste
- There is an urgent need to raise awareness and educate general public and concerned persons on medical waste issues
- Proper waste management strategy is needed to ensure health and environmental safety
- The health officer should inspect hospital, incinerator or landfill located within the area of his jurisdiction to check the provision of HWM Rules
- Find alternatives & appropriate technologies for developing countries
- Need extensive study on medical waste & management aspects and need more information on impacts, disposal and management to draw a clear conclusion
- Need to collect information and examples from developed countries or the country, which has sound medical waste management system
- There is urgent need of enforcement and implementation of HWM Rules and disposal of waste according to the said rules of hospital waste
- Ensure the presence of hospital waste management committee in every hospital of all districts
- A careful evaluation of training programs offered in other countries, and how they can be applied in Pakistan