Proper disposal of healthcare wastes stressed

The Department of Health reminded health facilities and local government units to strictly follow protocols on disposing healthcare waste to prevent possible transmission of coronavirus disease due to these waste materials.

This picture taken on July 1, 2020 shows a discarded face mask lying on the ground along a street in the central Karrada district of Iraq's capital Baghdad. - Iraq's officially recorded number of COVID-19 coronavirus infections surpassed 50,000 on July 1, the health ministry said, as the war-ravaged country's crippled healthcare system struggles to cope with the outbreak. Health authorities announced that 2,050 people had died of the respiratory illness, while 26,267 people had recovered. Iraq, which has recorded cases in all of its 18 provinces but mainly in Baghdad -- a city of 10 million people -- said it has carried out 556,000 tests since March. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated Monday that protocols have been set to properly manage waste materials from hospitals and other facilities, including those coming from households.

Health facilities and local government units (LGUs) must coordinate when it comes to disposing of wastes that may harm people, Vergeire said.

Healthcare wastes must be properly labeled and marked in order for garbage collectors to handle them correctly “because these waste materials are picked up on a certain schedule and disposed of in a certain place.”

By segregating and labeling the medical waste, garbage collectors would also be spared of the possibility of being infected while picking up the waste for disposal.

“We have protocols and even before this pandemic, we have this healthcare waste management. We have partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and LGUs to set a schedule for regular collection of healthcare waste,” Vergeire said.

The LGUs are also responsible to coordinate with healthcare facilities in their areas while healthcare providers should know the schedule and the proper way to dispose such wastes.

“So, again, we remind all healthcare providers and our local government units, We are asking help from them to further observe the proper waste disposal. There is this protocol that we follow, saying it must be properly segregated and marked as healthcare waste,” Vergeire said.

“We also enjoin everybody, not just the local government but all of us in the community. Kapag nasa bahay tayo, ilagay natin sa separate na plastic kapag dumating 'yung mga magbabasura sabihin natin na ito mga mask ito (When we are at home, we have to put it in a separate plastic and inform the garbage collector its contents). You have to label it so they know how it is going to be disposed,” Vergeire added.