Connect with us

News

Five-fold increase in clinical waste due to the pandemic situation in Lanka, says study

Published

on

Report of the rapid assessment was handed over recently to Director General of Health Services Dr Asela Gunawardena by UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka Robert Juhkam in the presence of Deputy Director General - Environmental and Occupational Health, Dr. V.T.S.K Siriwardana, Consultant Community Physician of the Environmental and Occupational Health Directorate, Dr. Inoka Suraweera and other representatives from UNDP Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has witnessed a five-fold increase in clinical waste due to the pandemic situation which has overwhelmed existing limited infrastructure and resources for health care waste management, creating an additional burden on health care facilities, says a rapid assessment on Health Care Waste Management in healthcare settings.

The rapid assessment conducted by the United Nations Development Programme at the request of the Health Ministry in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that many steps have been taken by the ministry in recent times for effective health care waste management in the aspects of policy and regulation, resource allocation, standardization, establishing in-house treatment and disposal systems for health care waste management.

However, several critical challenges were also identified including a five-fold increase in clinical waste due to the pandemic situation which has overwhelmed existing limited infrastructure and resources for health care waste management, creating an additional burden on Health Care Facilities (HCFs) and the ministry to safeguard staff as well as the environment. The report also highlighted the gendered nature of health care waste management, with over 80% of sanitation workers being women, which is largely unrecognized with increased exposure to risks and solid waste contamination.

Based on the outcomes of the rapid assessment, key recommendations have been made for the consideration of all healthcare sector stakeholders. A few of the recommendations include among others formalizing clinical waste disposal by private practitioners including Ayurvedic treatment centers with a payment system imposed upon the waste generators; strictly enforcement of the prohibition of open burning of clinical waste and introducing suitable arrangements for waste treatment at HCFs; dedicated and appropriate budgeting for Health Care Waste Management (HCWM); Introducing a Management Information System on ‘Build, Operate and Transfer’ basis for HCWM; Regularizing functions and empowerment of the Infectious Control Units to streamline healthcare waste management; and awareness creation, education and certification of all categories (medical and non-medical) in HCFs (Government and private) to improve health and safety aspects of treatment facilities.

Unsound management of healthcare waste could cause “knock-on” effects on human health and the environment. COVID-19 pandemic has created quite a strain on healthcare systems in terms of healthcare waste management and Sri Lanka is no exception.

Safe handling and final disposal of the waste is therefore a fundamental step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and whole product sustainability life cycle.

The report of the rapid assessment was handed over recently to Director General of Health Services Dr Asela Gunawardena by UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka Robert Juhkam at a meeting attended by Deputy Director General – Environmental and Occupational Health, Dr. V.T.S.K Siriwardana, Consultant Community Physician of the Environmental and Occupational Health Directorate, Dr. Inoka Suraweera and other representatives from UNDP Sri Lanka.

Director General of Health Services, Dr Gunawardena, at the meeting said: “The Ministry is grateful to UNDP for carrying out the Rapid Assessment of Health Care Waste in Sri Lanka that has led to important findings and informed the developing of the Draft National Action Plan for Health Care Waste. I commend the progress made so far on the pilot project which will help to further improve the National Action Plan, and the Ministry looks forward to UNDPs support in the finalization and implementation of this Action Plan for Health Care Waste, at this critical juncture that the country is currently facing.”

UNDP Resident Representative,  Juhkam said: “UNDP is proud to support the Ministry of Health to help pave the way forward towards sustainable waste management in the health sector in Sri Lanka, bringing both environmental and safety benefits to communities and health workers. UNDP will continue its support to the Government through Health and Environment Ministries while bringing together relevant UN agencies and stakeholders to provide a well-coordinated effort in finalizing and implementing the National Action Plan for Health Care Waste Management.”



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

Published

on

By

It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

Continue Reading

News

Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

Published

on

Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

Continue Reading

News

MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

Published

on

Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

Continue Reading

Trending