September 27, 2007

St. John’s Medical College Hospital shows the way in Bio-Medical Waste Management

For very big hospitals with over a 1,000 beds and handling a large number of patients on a daily basis, managing biomedical waste is not an easy task. But the city’s St. John’s Medical College Hospital has set an example in hospital waste management practices, especially in managing liquid waste.

A percentage of the waste generated by hospitals is not only harmful for the staff and patients but also to the general public/community at large. Unless sufficient care is taken to neutralise the toxicity, and make this waste productive, communicable diseases are likely to spread, particularly in an urban environment with a high population density.

According to St. John’s authorities, the hospital generates about 1.5 kg of waste per bed. The movement of toxic waste, from its source (wards) after “segregation” to the area where treatment and final disposal takes place is extremely important. These are done in trolleys/boxed carts painted red with the bio-hazard symbol. The cartage staff are not assigned any other work. Protective clothing such as goggles, masks, boots, aprons and gloves is essential for this activity, and captive for the safety of the handlers and the surroundings.

“Earlier, we used to do our own solid waste disposal, but after the Government gave directions that no hospitals in the city should have their own incinerators, we have tied up with Maradi Eco for management of solid biomedical waste,” Rajeev Franklin, consultant for bio-medical waste management at the hospital, said.

He said that the hospital took utmost care in managing liquid waste, some of which could be highly contaminating. “We have two big plants on the premises dedicated to liquid waste, a sewage treatment plant of 500 kilolitres capacity and another of 250 kilolitres capacity. The waste is treated with various chemicals, disinfected and neutralised so that there is negligible waste water discharge,” Mr. Franklin said.

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