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LAHORE: A provincial hospital waste supervisory committee was established on Thursday by the Environment Protection Department (EPD) to ensure implementation of the Punjab Hospital Waste Management Rules, 2014, overseeing the mechanism of risk waste disposal and installation of incinerators in public and private hospitals.

The step was taken in a meeting held under the chairmanship of EPD Punjab Secretary Dr Zafar Nasarullah Khan.

The committee will also see if any amendments are needed to the rules to make sure that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are implemented.

The meeting discussed suitable mechanisms of risk waste disposal in all kinds of health care establishments and coordination between related departments.

EIA Director Nasimur Rehman Shah explained the importance of implementation of the hospital waste management rules and proposed some amendments to the rules for better management of the waste. He said one of the causes of infectious diseases was the reuse and improper disposal of infectious waste, which carried viruses, bacteria and parasites. The infectious waste included used bandages, syringes, rejected medicines, stomach washes, organic waste, rejected hospital supplies etc.

Zafar Nasrullah Khan stressed more cooperation between the departments for better implementation of the rules. He advised that a sub-committee should be formed to look deeper in the proposed amendments to the rules. This would be done under the chairmanship of Dr Nusrat Naz and members from the departments concerned with the responsibility to submit a report within two weeks.

The meeting was told that the health department had recently made efforts to install incinerators at the district headquarters hospitals. However, the disposal mechanism of risk waste at the teaching hospitals was yet to be fully implemented.

Rehan Paracha from the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) presented the organisation’s model project on colour coded waste segregation and disposal which was already running successfully at the Children’s Hospital while construction of central storage facilities, named Yellow Rooms, for infectious waste storage in four hospitals such as Services, General, Children and Lady Willingdon hospitals had been completed and waste of these hospitals was being incinerated on a daily basis.

Those who were present at the meeting included Sayeda Malik, DG EPA, Nasimur Rehman Shah, Director, EIA, Dr Nusrat Naz, director EDH, Dr Saira Umar, additional secretary Specialised Health Care and Medical Education Department, Dr Muhammad Anwar Janjua, Punjab Health Care Commission, Rehan Paracha, senior manager LWMC, Dr Ibrahim Mughal, health specialist Hepatitis and Infection Control Program, Dr Arfa, AMS Jinnah Hospital, Dr Tauqeer Akhtar from TCF, and Dr Izhaar from Pakistan Medical Association.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018