Clinics, labs yet to join common bio-medical waste disposal facility

Government hospitals too are yet to be covered under the system

S. Ganesan

TIRUCHI: : The establishment of a common bio-medical waste disposal facility for the central districts notwithstanding, practical difficulties in collection and transportation remain a stumbling block in bringing private clinics and clinical laboratories under the network. Government hospitals too are yet to be covered under the system so far.

As of now 304 private hospitals/nursing homes in Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and parts of Sivaganga districts have joined the facility. The common facility at Sengipttai in Thanjavur district was established under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Indian Medical Association, which acted as a facilitator, and the Medicare Enviro Systems.

The common facility, with an auto claver and incinerator (for anatomical wastes), has a capacity to handle about 1.80 tonnes of bio-medical wastes per day. Currently, the facility operates much below its capacity handling just about 500 to 600 kg of wastes. According to sources, the incinerator at the facility has a capacity to handle about 150 kg per hour while the auto-claver could handle 500 litres per batch.

The hospitals pay Rs.3 per bed to the Medicare Systems for collecting and disposal of the bio-medical wastes generated by them on a day-to-day basis. However, private clinics and laboratories are yet to join the network, though they are also required to do so.

Sources estimate that there would be 500 to 600 clinics and 200 to 300 labs in the Central districts. The Medicare Enviro Systems is understood to have already conducted a survey of the clinics in the districts, though it is yet to finalise the handling charges to be collected from them owing to several practical difficulties. One of the major problems is the varying size of the clinics. For instance, medical practitioner in a small clinic could attend just about 10 outpatients per day while a few others attract up to 100 patients. There is no reliable data on the quantum of the bio-medical wastes generated from the clinics. Same is the case with the laboratories too — some are small ones others handle up to 100 samples per day.

Besides, collection and transportation is also likely to pose a problem as the clinics are spread out with some located in remote places. Even private hospitals in Perambalur district have not been brought under the network due to problems in transportation.

As far as government hospitals were concerned, Health Department sources said they were still awaiting directions from the government on the issue.

An estimated 4,000 beds were in government hospitals across the districts and their bio-medical wastes discharges are currently being removed mostly by local bodies, which are ill equipped to ensure their proper disposal.

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