ISLAMABAD, Sept 16: The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet was informed on Monday that the two leading public hospitals of the city were without incinerators, and hospital waste was thrown in the open.

The committee, which met at the Senate Secretariat, was headed by Senator Kulsoom Parveen and was also attended by the executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) and Federal Government Services Hospital (Poly Clinic).

It is worth mentioning that Pims is the largest public hospital of the capital where several procedures are carried out in its 18 operation theaters.

According to an official, all the hospital waste collected from these operations theaters was removed unprofessionally and thrown or burnt in the open.

While talking to Dawn, he said “Since the incinerators have not been functional for the past several months, the hospital management has no option but to dump the waste in the open.”

Senator Kulsoom, during the committee meeting, said, “It’s horrifying for the members of the committee that public hospitals are without incinerators. The whole environment of the capital is polluted when the hospital waste is burnt in the open.”

The committee’s chairperson added, “Hardly Rs110 million have been reserved by the government for the maintenance of the incinerators, which is a joke. Public health should be more important and the money reserved should be increased for the maintenance of incinerators.”

She said it was strange the government was not even willing to fix the incinerators. “This highlights the apathy of the government towards an important public health matter,” she said.

The senator called on the heads of both hospitals to ensure save disposal of hospital waste.

The committee members also showed dismay that a private contractor in Morgah, Rawalpindi, was collecting all the used syringes and surgical equipments, endangering the public’s health.

To further probe the matter, the committee has fixed September 18 as the next date.

Responding to the concerns raised by the senate members, secretary of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), Fareedullah Khan, told the committee that he would personally follow the grant issue with the finance division to fix the out of order incinerators.

He said the incinerators at Pims and Poly Clinic would be made operational “within the shortest possible time.”

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