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» »Unlabelled » Ministry of health in quandary over surgical waste disposal


BY JOHN MURWIRA
The Ministry of Health and Child Care in Mashonaland West province is battling sustainable and environmentally-friendly disposal of surgical waste, amid revelations that the waste management component was being ignored in successive budgets of most health programmes which output a lot of waste.
A snap survey by NewsAnchor has revealed the ministry was in a dilemma to effectively manage its surgical waste properly and timeously as there is an absence of working incinerators being major drivers.
From the information gathered by this publication, in 2018 the nationwide measles rubella vaccination campaign budget did not have a component for waste management  despite the programme's capacity to generate massive surgical waste.
Addressing a preparatory workshop for the measles rubella campaign, Environmental Health Officer in the ministry, Timothy Chauke, said all was not well when it comes to waste management as most incinerators were not fully functional across the province. 
The one at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital was overburdened as some districts had to ferry their waste to the provincial incinerator, said Chauke.
"When coming up with health programmes, the waste management component must be key. It must be included in budgets for proper waste management to be effectively undertaken, " he said.
Contacted for comment, Mashonaland West Health Promotions Officer, Dr George Kambondo confirmed shortage of fully functional incinerators in the province citing Norton and Chegutu districts out of the seven districts as the only ones having standard incinerators.
"There is need to invest in upgrading or investing in constructing more incinerators in the province to effectively manage surgical waste," said Kambondo.
Mashonaland West Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Education and Publicity Officer, Munyaradzi Nhariswa said there was need for the health ministry to effectively manage surgical waste to ensure a sustainable ecosystem where flora and fauna flourishes.

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