Survey of hazardous chemical waste management in health facilities late March | Tunisia News Gazette

Survey of hazardous chemical waste management in health facilities late March

A national survey of the management of hazardous chemical waste in health facilities will be conducted by late March, said Director of Environmental Health and Environment Protection at the Ministry of Health Mohamed Rebhi.

The move is aimed to make a diagnosis of the current situation and determine quantities of waste in a bid to devise a national action plan, Rebhi Monday told a hearing by the Committee on Administrative Reform, Good Governance, Anti-Corruption and Oversight On the Management of Public Money.

Chemical waste is part of the waste from health care activities of hospitals and laboratories with a wide range of hazards, including dermatology diseases and oncological pathologies, along with its environmental impact reflected in soil and groundwater pollution.

Ninety-eight health facilities in Tunisia produce about 3,200 tonnes of hazardous waste/year, including 1,570 tonnes in Greater Tunis, 940 tonnes in the governorates of Sousse, Monastir, Kairouan and Mahdia and 690 tonnes in Sfax, GabAs, Medenine and Tataouine.

The Ministry took the necessary steps following an Audit Court report, mainly increasing the scope of the hazardous waste management system beneficiaries

(public health facilities) and reactivating the principles of on-site waste sorting and selective sorting of waste.

The ministry took note of an improvement in waste management in basic health centres and care units with rates of conformity with management practices rising from 27.5% and 40.6% in 2014 to 37% and 51.8% in 2017.

Private health facilities and dialysis centres had to follow suit and adopt the waste management system. The number of private clinics which signed a subcontracting agreement for health care waste management stood at 54% up from 30%.

Health Minister Imed Hammami told the committee hearing efforts are underway to secure waste management in different health care facilities. A string of measures, including the ban on the use of thermometers of zinc and increasing financial allowances for heath care waste management, was taken.

There is also need for an urgent solution to get rid of the chemical waste piled up in health facilities, he further said.

Source: TAP News Agency

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