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Hospitals warned about toxic waste

By Nelson Kiva

Added 11th July 2019 10:40 AM

The warning follows a study which indicated that some of hospital laboratories lack critical biosafety and biosecurity parameters

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The warning follows a study which indicated that some of hospital laboratories lack critical biosafety and biosecurity parameters

Asiimwe in a feedback meeting with stakeholders. Photo by Nelson Kiva

The Government has urged hospitals to adhere to standard regulations and guidelines on safety and security regarding toxic chemicals and biological substances, saying failure to adhere to the guidelines poses a great risk to medics and people who seek health services.

The warning follows a study conducted in five hospitals, factories and quarry sites in western and central Uganda April, which indicated that some of their laboratories operated short of critical biosafety and biosecurity parameters. 

The study is part of the five-year project dubbed Chemical Safety and Security (CHESASE) implemented by the gender and labour ministry.  

At a feedback meeting at the MOGLSD headquarters in Kampala, where the inspectors reported back their findings, the national project coordinator and commissioner labour, industrial relations and productivity, Alex Asiimwe, said what came out clearly was that the capacity of workers responsible for health and safety was still inadequate. 

Under the project, members were nominated from various ministries, departments and institutions to formulate the steering committee and four technical working committees to conduct field inspections to assess the level of compliance in line with the CBRNE areas of interest.

The hospitals assessed included Masaka Regional Hospital, Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, Kabale Regional Referral Hospital, Itojo General Hospital, and Kampala International University Hospital-Ishaka. 

According to the study, although the hospitals met many of the biosafety and biosecurity parameters, for their laboratories, however, they had shortcomings.

For instance at Masaka Hospital; inadequacy was discovered in training of staff in bio-safety and bio-security for the staff. 

No complete biosafety manual for the laboratory, no biometric access to the lab, they used a manual key and local system, risk assessment and evaluation was lacking for the staff in case of change of their health status as regards agents used or work process.

At Mbarara Hospital; many out of the 22 staff members of the laboratory, were not aware of the legislation regulating biological agents on top of the lab administration having no procedures or policies internally developed to handle biosafety and security.

While at Kabale Hospital, the incinerator was not efficient enough to incinerate wastes completely.

 

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