Latest update March 21st, 2023 12:59 AM
Jun 24, 2013 News
– Some health care facilities not utilizing
GPHC’s Hydroclave Sterilization System
By Keeran Danny
Unsterilized hazardous waste is still being disposed at the Haags Bosch Landfill Site, East Bank Demerara, even though Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is equipped with a Hydroclave Sterilization System capable of sterilizing waste from all public and private health facilities in Region Four.
This is because several private health facilities in the Region are disposing their medical or hazardous waste instead of using GPHC’s facility.
This is according to Gordon Gilkes, Head of the Solid Waste Management Programme.
Gilkes, who visited GPHC to look at the operations of the Hydroclave Sterilization System over a month ago, told Kaieteur News that the equipment is being underutilized.
“Because of the size of the Hydroclave it is inefficient to operate on a daily basis so the waste is packed in a storage room and awaits the correct quantity to be sterilized,” he added.
The country’s main health facility installed the equipment with the intention of processing 300 kilogrammes of infectious waste daily.
The project was initiated in 2008 and the Hydroclave Sterilization System became operational in March 2012. As part of the sterilization programme, for a nominal fee GPHC collects hazardous waste from both public and private health facilities in Region Four. The programme was developed for GPHC to sterilize hazardous waste produced by all health facilities in Region Four but not all private hospitals are on board.
Gilkes said, “We rather suspect they are mixing domestic and medical waste and disposing them at the Landfill Site.”
He believes that the Environmental Protection Agency should be proactive in ensuring that medical facilities, including dental operations utilize the Hydroclave Sterilization System service for the safety of the humans and the environment.
In fact, many persons in the waste management sector, who do not wear protective garments are at risk of contracting dangerous and sometimes incurable diseases, since they come into contact with hazardous waste, including needles, almost daily.
According to Michael Khan, Chief Executive Officer of GPHC, the hospital does not accept certain kinds of medical waste such as limbs and fetuses from private hospitals. However, GPHC is open for discussion as to the types of waste it is prepared to accept.
He noted that GPHC’s trucks uplift hazardous waste from several Ministry of Health’s centres on the East Bank and East Coast Demerara, Balwant Singh Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association, East Bank Demerara Regional Hospital and Banks DIH (whenever necessary).
Khan related that other large private hospitals in Georgetown are aware of the service being offered but they have not come on board as yet. He added that a nominal fee of either $500 or $600 is attached to uplifting one bag.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Environmental Protection (Hazardous Waste Management) Regulation was enacted in 2000. It supports the Environmental Protection Act 1996 with regard to the streamlining and effective management of hazardous waste.
The EPA said that the growing industrialised sector in Guyana has created the need for the agency to increasingly address the implementation of the Hazardous Waste Regulations. As such, the EPA expanded its structure in 2011, to include a Hazardous Wastes/Materials and Air Quality Management (HWM&AQ) Unit. The Unit is intended to coordinate activities under the Environmental Protection (Hazardous Wastes Management) Regulations, 2000.
However, environmental guidelines for the implementation of the Hazardous Waste Regulation have been completed for the proper storage, transportation and occupational handing of biomedical waste. These are guides to operators of medical-care facilities for the sound management of biomedical waste.
The agency noted that at present, it is in the process of engaging GPHC “through the environmental authorization of the hydroclave being used to sterilize biomedical waste from that entity, private hospitals and health centres in Region Four.”
The EPA said that the Agency conducted awareness meetings on the Hazardous Waste Regulations with entities, which generate biomedical waste and highlighted their obligations. Additionally, the Agency intends to publish in the newspapers the legislative obligations of generators of these hazardous products.
According to the EPA, it has been made aware that private and public healthcare facilities utilize GPHC’s Hydroclave Sterilization System to sterilize biomedical waste within Region Four, while other public medical-care entities incinerate their waste.
“However, there is recognition that certain public health-care facilities have not been disposing of their medical waste in an environmentally-sound manner. Consequently, the Agency has been working with these facilities to rectify this situation.”
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