ISLAMABAD: A vendor hired by the Pims administration to incinerate medical waste on the hospital premises has been involved in the sale of this infectious material, such as discarded syringes and blood bags, in the federal capital in cahoots with hospital employees.

Though this material can be used to manufacture toys, shoes and other products, the management is gravely concerned that the used syringes and glucose bags can be reused by the buyers, which would result in HIV/AIDS, cancer and hepatitis outbreak.

After this shocking discovery, Pims Executive Director Dr Naeem Malik established a three-member fact-finding committee, headed by Prof of General Surgery Dr S.H. Waqar.

The body was asked to submit a report within two days while a focal person has been nominated to check the activities at the incinerator – installed at the hospital about five years ago.

Moreover, the management has written a letter to the Islamabad IG, informing that Pims employees were also involved in the scam and that an FIR be registered to arrest the culprits involved in the illegal act.

Employees, vendorinvolved in sale of hospital waste; police approached to lodge FIR

It is worth mentioning that the management hired a company that gets around Rs1.4 million per month to collect the hospital waste and incinerate it on the premises to avert recycling of the infectious waste.

Dangerous scam unearthed

The sale of this waste to private parties came to the fore after an official of the hospital followed the vehicle laden with infectious waste to Sector G-11 where the hospital waste was sold to a local depot.

The official had recorded on camera the departure of the vehicle from Pims as well as the sale of the material.

According to a notification issued by Dr Naeem Malik, a Suzuki van bearing registration number RIS-15 was found on Monday transporting the medical and surgical infectious waste material to some unknown depot at G-11 for recycling.

Such type of waste would result in the spread of various diseases i.e. HIV/AID, hepatitis and cancer, it added.

Another document shows that Sanitary Inspector Rao Sadaqat Ali will be responsible for the proper functioning of the incinerator, monitoring and segregation of infectious and non-infectious waste.

The official will also coordinate with the Capital Development Authority for proper monitoring and disposal of the hospital waste.

Pims Spokesperson Dr Haider Abbasi told Dawn that a fact-finding committee would investigate the issue.

“We are checking the terms and conditions of the contract. The inquiry committee will make the company - which got the contract of waste management - a party to the case and seek an explanation,” he said.

While replying to a question, Dr Abbasi said that such waste material could be used in making toys, shoes and other plastic goods.

“However such waste is incinerated to ensure that it would not be reused to stop the spread of diseases,” he added.

It is worth mentioning that in 2018 Pims received an incinerator that could burn 100kg of waste in one hour.

It was informed that it had a dual chamber due to which in the first step it would burn the waste and then it would convert it into ash.

The ash is considered infection-free due to which it can be dumped in a pit or can also be given as municipal waste.

It is pertinent to mention that hospital waste can become the reason for infections as they contain blood, human parts and sharp surgical instruments among other dangerous materials.

Across the globe, incinerators are used to burn such waste. Ideally, an incinerator should have primary and secondary chambers to dispose of hospital waste and also process the smoke produced as a result.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2023

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