Limited infra in hospitals puts extra load on conservancy staff

Officials with the State Health Department say that the additional production of waste during the pandemic was a challenge for the conservancy workers at the hospitals, due to limited infrastructure.
Limited infra in hospitals puts extra load on conservancy staff
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Chennai: The production of biomedical waste has increased manifold in the last two-plus years due to the pandemic, say hospital authorities.

Officials with the State Health Department say that the additional production of waste during the pandemic was a challenge for the conservancy workers at the hospitals, due to limited infrastructure.

“During the first and second wave, there was a surge in the biomedical waste generation. There’s about 20-25% more biomedical waste generated now due to the increased use of PPE kits, masks and other biomedical material consumption,” said Dr M Kavitha, professor of microbiology, Madras Medical College. “During the initial stages of the pandemic, we didn’t know how the infection spread. So, even the food consumed by patients was regarded as biomedical waste.”

Officials from Stanley Medical College and Hospital say that the treatment of biomedical waste is done outside the hospital. “But workers’ challenge was in handling the waste since the quantity increased manifold. In case the vehicles broke down, the waste generated would get accumulated and the staff had to struggle while sending it for treatment outside,” one of the officials pointed out.

However, the overall biomedical waste generation at government as well as private hospitals is now back to pre-COVID times. The spokesperson of a private hospital in Nungambakkam said that a separate committee was formed to handle waste generation as the medical staff, patients, administrative staff and attendants contributed to some form of it.

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