ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of the sale of infectious waste material from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) in the market and directed the Ministry of Health to hold an independent inquiry instead of an internal inquiry.

The prime minister has sought a report within 48 hours, having the facts of the issue, fixing responsibilities and steps to avoid loopholes in the disposal of the waste in future.

A vendor hired by the Pims administration to incinerate medical waste on the hospital premises was found involved in the sale of 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 was 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 the shocking discovery, Pims Executive Director Dr Naeem Malik had established a three-member fact-finding committee, headed by Prof of General Surgery Dr S.H. Waqar.

Moreover, the management had written a letter to the Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP), 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.

The management has 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.

However, the waste was being sold at a local depot in Sector G-11.

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, March 2nd, 2023

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