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Medical Or Hospital Waste Management

Health care wastes are among the most important waste management programs that state or city government should pay attention to. Health care wastes or HCW are objects both sharp and non-sharp, body parts, chemicals, drugs, medical devices and radioactive materials that health care institution dispose. In the United States about 7000 tons of waste everyday or 2 million tons annually is collected from hospitals and health clinics.

Hospital wastes are mainly solid wastes. There are bio-hazardous materials, flammable and toxic materials. There are also radioactive or isotopes which very dangerous to handle. Medical wastes would also include batteries, fluorescent lamps, e-wastes like computers, and corrosive dangerous items like those drugs used in anaesthesiology.

Hospital or health care wastes are divided into categories. This would help in properly using waste disposal methods based on the nature of the waste materials. There is the general trash which refers to recyclable materials. Regulated medical wastes are also referred to as infectious waste since they are capable of causing infectious disease. While hazardous wastes may pose serious problems to human health and environment. There are specific disposal regulations that each category should follow, specially hazardous waste.

Any health care institution generates this kind of medicate waste. Other institutions that produce medical wastes are laboratories, blood banks, morgues and funeral parlors, medical schools and even research institutions. It is important for each of this institution to have and implement a waste management plan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides programme activities that would help hospital and health care institutions develop programs and technical materials for assessing their wastes, creating action plans, and developing management guidelines for medical institutions.

Hospitals should have waste management teams that would enhance or develop waste management plan. Most of the times, the waste management team is comprised of the hospital staff, like the head of hospital and the hospital departments, pharmacists, infection control officer, and hospital manager or administrator. Normally, there would be a waste management officer that would oversee the implementation of the plan on daily operation.

When making a waste management plan (WMP), the waste management should be prepared to address different issues like the existing waste disposal practices and the quantity of waste being disposed. The WMP should be able to come up with different plans and strategies that could minimize waste through recycling and reusing. It should also cover training health care professionals, staff about waste disposal.

Forming a waste management team and drafting a waste management plan is not the last step. The waste management plan should go through evaluation and maybe some changes depending on the result of the evaluation. Updating the system may be needed especially when the institution is undergoing some major changes or renovation in their system. There are also national government agencies requiring hospitals and medical institution to submit records of their waste management and disposal methods.

Health care institutions are not only responsible in making people in communities get the proper health care. They are also responsible for ensuring that the community is safe from materials that would be detrimental to the health of the people. Having a waste management plan would surely help in ensuring that health care institutions would make the community safe.


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