Dishonest nexus selling medical wastes must be busted

15 December 2022

Can it be possible to use the unrefined and seriously harmful medical waste again? No, not at all. Communicable diseases spread in this way. But in a country like Bangladesh where regulatory systems are everywhere in their hopeless state, this preposterous thing can be possible. According to a study titled "Governance Challenges in Medical Waste Management and Way Out" conducted by Transparency International Bangladesh, a nexus of corrupt people has been forcing people to use the medical waste with the help of medical staffers in hospitals.
The TIB revelations are very alarming indeed. About 60 per cent hospitals do not have storing facilities or bins for preserving the medical waste for their safe disposal. Even more seriously, 83 per cent of hospitals do not have a waste management system at all.
After investigating data of 231 public and private hospitals, city corporations, municipalities and contractors, the TIB researchers prepared the study findings. Not only that, the corruption watchdog interviewed 93 persons involved in the medical waste management in the hospitals.
In the overall waste management, Bangladesh is way behind not just the developed countries but the countries in the South-eastern region as well despite the fact that Bangladesh produces the second largest amount of medical waste regionally.
True, a virtual anarchy is prevailing here regarding the medical waste management. It is found that irregularities and corruption are prevailing in every step of medical waste management from collection, storage, transportation to treatment. But the relevant hospital authorities have a responsibility not just to discharge the medical waste the hospital produces but have to, more seriously, stop supplying medical wastes back to market from where the unsuspecting people buy not just these unrefined waste products but possibility of getting infected with serious diseases also.
Since the Medical Waste (Management and Processing) Rules do not clarify the responsibilities and accountability of two city corporations, they do not have an action plan or system regarding the medical waste management. Hence now is the necessity to involve the city corporations in this matter by expanding their jurisdiction by amending the relevant rules. Also, the Health Ministry, as the regulating authority of the country's health centres, public or private, must force each hospital to put in place an effective waste management system. The ministry cannot shy away from its responsibility.

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