This, it said, would give legal backing to existing policies to help minimize the dangers medical waste posed to human lives and the environment.

Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President and Executive Director of IMANI Ghana
Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President and Executive Director of IMANI Ghana

Ghana presently has 18,000 hospital beds, each generating 1.2 kilograms per day of waste out of which 15 percent is infectious hazardous waste.

Bio-medical waste includes syringes, live vaccines, laboratory samples, body parts, bodily fluids and waste, sharp needles, cultures and lancets.

Health-care waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms, which can infect hospital patients, health workers and the general public.

The waste in some circumstances is incinerated and dioxins, furans and other toxic air pollutants may be produced as emissions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, of the total amount of waste generated by health-care activities, about 85 percent is generally non-hazardous waste.

The remaining 15 percent is considered hazardous material that may be infectious, toxic or radioactive.

Every year, an estimated 16 billion injections are administered worldwide but not all of the needles and syringes are properly disposed of.

Speaking at a stakeholders event on “Bio-medical Waste Management in Ghana: A Need for Urgent Attention and Legislation”, lead researchers for IMANI Ghana, Keshia Osei-Kufuor and Brian Dsanzi observed that most healthcare facilities did not have proper systems in place to treat bio-medical wastes.

“What we found in most of our hospitals was that chemical wastes are flushed directly into the sewage systems and most sewage systems in Ghana do not get treated before they are finally discharged into water bodies or open pit.

“Now, this is really dangerous because a lot of communities who live around these hospitals use these water sources for their daily activities. A lot of farmers use these water sources to irrigate their farms,” said Dsanzi.

The policy think tank is therefore advocating a Legislative Instrument (LI) to give teeth to existing policies in the country.

Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Vctor Bampoe expressed the commitment of the government in the management of bio-medical waste in the country.

“I think the resolve of the Ministry of Health would be that whatever comes out of this meeting will be taken very seriously before we get major problem on our hands.” Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

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