Results of probe on medical wastes ‘worrisome’

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Sunday, August 3, 2014


A DAVAO City councilor said most healthcare facilities in Davao City fail to abide by the waste management program set by the Department of Health (DOH), exposing them to hazardous healthcare waste disease and injury.

Councilor Joselle Villafuerte, City Council chair for committee on health, said she is alarmed by the concerns raised by the healthcare facilities during the forum on healthcare waste management held in SM Ecoland on Thursday.

She said workers in some healthcare facilities like lying-in centers need some review and further guidance on proper waste disposal.

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“Akala ko after this magaan na loob ko, mas nag-worry ako sa mga nalaman ko,” Villafuerte told Sun.Star Davao.

A half-day forum was held to educate healthcare workers on proper waste disposal after the dumping of medical wastes in Talomo District last month.

During the open forum, representatives of several healthcare facilities voiced out their concerns.

One of them reacted on the high price for collection of medical wastes by a private group.

Barangay leaders were also invited to attend the forum.

Barangay Cabantian administrator Rolando Tulibao revealed that one of the healthcare facilities in their village confessed selling the syringes to scrap collectors and junk shop owners.

“Ingon pa sila sa akoa, ang mga dagum ilahang ginalubong human kadtong mga syringes ilahang ginabaligya. Pipila lang ni sa mga ginabuhat sa mga center sa amoa dapit (People told me that used needles are buried while syringes are sold. Those are just two of the wrong practices here),” Tuliabo told Sun.Star Davao.

“Inosente gyud siguro sila. Siguro panahon na para tutukan sila sa DOH ug sa CHO kay delikado man diay ni kaayo (Maybe they are not really aware. Maybe it’s about time the DOG and the City Health Office focus on these workers),” he said.

The Health Care Management Manual of the Department of Health provides that “A framework for health care waste management should always consider health and occupational safety. There are many potential hazards associated when dealing or handling health care waste such as physical, chemical and biological hazards as well as ergonomic factors. Health care facilities should identify all these specific environmental and occupational hazards during handling, storing, treating, and disposing of health care waste.”

According to the manual, there are 10 types of health care wastes—general waste, infectious waste, pathological waste, sharps, pharmaceutical waste, genotoxic waste, chemical waste, waste with high content of heavy metals, pressurized containers and radioactive waste.

Villafuerte said she is planning to craft an ordinance, adding teeth to the healthcare waste management.

She said a survey was conducted during the forum which results will aid her on which aspect she will be zero in on her legislative plans.

“We really need an ordinance on this hindi lang para ma educate sila, but tutulungan din natin sila na irequest ang private sector na babaan ang kolekta sa medical waste especially mga lying in centers,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 04, 2014.

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