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A Wake-Up Call to Success in Achieving the Healthy Environment & Sustainable Healthcare Through UN SDGs: Things to know

Dr. Farwa Nisar

25 January, 2024

A Wake-Up Call to Success in Achieving the Healthy Environment & Sustainable Healthcare Through UN SDGs

Healthcare system is working 24/7 as warriors as we all had recognized in covid era, but on the other end its waste management system is generating different types of wastes, among which mainly hazardous waste is of our concern here. As this kind of waste is one of the sources of environmental risks, public and healthcare professional’s health risks.

 

When there comes a point of concern regarding safe management of healthcare waste in the developing countries, which seems to be compromised due to resource constraints, low knowledge and awareness ( regarding proper waste management due to lack of trainings), non-compliance of regulations and legislations, mal practices ( un segregated waste is illegally recycled) and insufficient waste management services.

 

Overall hospital waste management systems in developing countries are facing multi-level challenges. Sustainable healthcare in regard to waste management need a long way in the reduction of harmful effects on environment, public and occupational health risks.

 

THORUGH THE LENS OF WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO):

 

Key Facts:

• Of the total amount of waste generated by health-care activities, about 85% is general, non-hazardous waste.

 

• The remaining 15% is considered hazardous material that may be infectious, toxic or radioactive.

 

• Every year an estimated 16 billion injections are administered worldwide, but not all of the needles and syringes are properly disposed of afterwards.

 

• Open burning and incineration of health care wastes can, under some circumstances, result in the emission of dioxins, furans, and particulate matter.

 

• Measures to ensure the safe and environmentally sound management of health care wastes can prevent adverse health and environmental impacts from such waste including the unintended release of chemical or biological hazards, including drug-resistant microorganisms, into the environment thus protecting the health of patients, health workers, and the general public.

 

• Only about 58% of healthcare facilities in developing countries have access to basic waste management services.

 

• WHO forecast indicates a potential of 30% rise in hospital waste generation by 2030.

 

CLASSIFICATION OF HEALTHCARE WASTE:

CLASSIFICATION OF HEALTHCARE WASTE

Importance of Hospital Waste Management:

 

Each person working in a hospital setting can be impacted by healthcare waste management and each person should be provided with training and education on how healthcare waste handling and disposal processes directly impacts infection control. COVID-19 has cost everyone many things, but it has also given us something: a harsh reminder that amplified infection control and proper waste management are in great need for our future.

 

HEALTHCARE WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM:

HEALTHCARE WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

CONSEQUENCES OF POOR HEALTHCARE WASTE MANAGEMENT:

Environmental Consequences:

• Healthcare waste management treatment practices are open dump and burning, landfill and incineration.

 

These practices have following environmental impacts:

 

• Emission of viable microorganisms with the exhaust gases.

 

• Emission of toxic chemicals and harmful pollutant as carbon monoxide: following incomplete combustion/hydrogen chloride/metals: mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium/dioxin, and furan.

 

• Gas production as methane and carbon dioxide.

 

• Contamination of drinking, surface and ground water.

 

Health Consequences:

• Health Care Waste contain microorganisms, these organisms can infect not only the healthcare workers but also general public as well as the patients.

 

• Drug resistant microorganisms may also spread to the environment.

 

• Risk of Hepatitis-C and HIV spread is also associated with poor healthcare waste management system, with needle stick injury, re-use of syringes due to pilferage of waste or illegal sale of waste.

 

CHALLENGES:

 In developing countries, healthcare waste management is often a challenge. Some challenges are as follows;

 

• Implementations of regulations regarding proper healthcare waste disposal

• Lack of awareness

• Limited financial resources

• In adequate infra structure

• In sufficient waste management services

• Lack of technological advancement

• Limited research and development in particular field

 

HEALTHCARE WASTE MANAGEMENT & ITS BUSINESS PROSPECTS:

• Increasing demand of disposable medical devices- one of the major factors for the growth of healthcare waste management market.

 

• Growing number of patients is another factor with a significant impact on market growth.

 

• With growing awareness about environmental consequences related to disposal of healthcare waste are expected to drive the growth in industry.

 

• Government regulations related to healthcare waste management in the context of disposal of infectious waste will fuel the growth of this market.

 

SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS:

• Improve infra structure

• Education and training

• Training programs for health care professionals and waste management staff

• Community Engagement

 

Public awareness campaigns on healthcare waste management system, Environmental consequences, Health consequences for the development of sustainable healthcare waste management.

Investment in Technology plays a key role in safe disposal of healthcare waste.

 

Our youth can be the game changers!

Hospital waste management, particularly in developing nations, is a critical environmental issue that calls for cooperation between government agencies, healthcare facilities, and the general public in order to ensure long-term public health and safety solutions.

 

 In addition to offering necessary services, health care can acknowledge its environmental impact by investing in technological advancements and infrastructure solutions.

 

 This blog provides an overview of solutions and awareness raising for a significant issue that arises in developing nations due to ignorance.

 

 This issue has a negative impact on the health and productivity of the country’s citizens, slowing down the growth that is sorely needed for its development.

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DR.FARWA NISAR

Dr. Farwa Nisar Additional Medical Superintendent at Hijaz Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan.

I am a healthcare professional with an extensive experience in healthcare management. I am passionate healthcare professional, advocate for patient-centered care and also integration of sustainable practices in broader healthcare frame-work. My people are my priority and my responsibility as a Pakistani is to raise a voice for our environment and health.

Disclaimer

Please note that all opinions, views, statements, and facts conveyed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Chaudhry Abdul Rehman Business School (CARBS). CARBS assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. When interpreting and applying the information provided in the article, readers are advised to use their own discretion and judgement.

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