Training of medical staff in Biomedical Waste Management and hazards from Mercury
Mercury is one of the most significant environmental offenders widely used and associated with the healthcare. Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), Thiruvananthapuram and Toxics Link, a Delhi based environmental organization have joined together to organaise a series of training programme on biomedical waste management and phasing out mercury from the health care sector in Kerala. To start with a training programme was organised in 5 hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram District.
Objectives of the training
The objectives of the training program were to
- Increase awareness on biomedical waste management among health care workers.
- Make health care workers aware of the potential health and environmental risks of mercury.
- Train health care workers in mercury spill management
- Initiate an action program to phase out mercury from the health sector.
About training programme
Training programme consisted of two sessions –Biomedical waste management and problems of mercury in health care. The training programme on biomedical management primarily focused on the importance of effective segregation of biomedical waste at source. The training on Mercury illustrated the hazardous aspects of the Mercury in the health sector as well as in the society and need for phasing out Mercury.
Seminar on Issues and Challenges in Managing Biomedical Waste and the Phasing out of Mercury from the Healthcare Sector in Kerala
Bio-medical waste constitutes an estimated two percent of municipal waste in the urban areas of India. Though the BMW Rules have been in place for the last 13 years, there is very low compliance level. There are various challenges in the implementation of the system, like lack of capacity among generators and regulators, inadequate infrastructure, finance etc.
Kerala is a state with considerable medical infrastructure and has managed to provide and maintain high quality medical care. The advent and surge of medical tourism has also played its part in bringing the medical infrastructure of Kerala in the spot light. But when it comes to managing the waste produced from these healthcare facilities, the State is lagging behind and this presents a serious situation.
Sensing a pressing need to get all the stakeholders together to address the concerns at a common platform, Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), Thiruvananthapuram, and Toxics Link, a Delhi based environmental organisation have joined together to organise a seminar on “Issues and Challenges in managing Biomedical waste and elimination of mercury from the healthcare sector of Kerala” at Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram, on 28th November, 2012. The Kerala State Pollution Control Board and Federation of Hospital Administrators (Kerala Chapter) have also associated in the organisation of the Seminar.
The seminar was inaugurated by Shri. K. Muraleedharan, Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly. He said that in a scenario where waste management has turned out to be the most debated topic in Kerala, the issue of biomedical waste management assumed utmost significance. Pointing out that as many as ninety five percent of private hospitals successfully undertake the management of biomedical waste, he said that the lack of will has come as a bane in this area in Government hospitals. The issue of phasing out of mercury also needs major awareness programmes and training has to be imparted to those involved in waste management, said Shri. P. Sreekantan Nair, Director in the Department of Environment and Climate Change who delivered a special address in the inaugural ceremony. Shri. K Sajeevan, Chairman, Kerala State Pollution Control Board also spoke on the occasion. The technical sessions were handled by Padmasree Dr K Marthandan Pillai, Shri. V. Rahul Thampi, Programme Officer, Shri. J Chandra Babu , Sr. Environmental Engineer, Central Pollution Control Board, Dr. S K Jawahar, President, FHA-K, Ms. Gladius, Senior Engineer, KSPCB, Ms. Kankana Das , Programme Officer, Toxics Link, Shri. G Pramod, IMAGE, Dr. Sreejith N Kumar, Dr. Roy K. George, Dr M .K Gangadharan, Dr. R. V. Asokan and Shri. V.S.S Nair.