Medical Waste is a major public health and environment concern.
Medical waste is generated in the process of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases. Pathogens and hazardous chemicals/materials released through health care activities generally reside in the wastes generated in the process. These pathogens and hazardous materials, if not properly treated and disposed, may cause serious damage to human health and environment ? turning health care institutions from centres of disease prevention and cure to sites of disease proliferation.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, has notified The Bio-Medical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 1998 to provide for statutory and obligatory guidelines for health care waste management. However, the implementation of these Rules and the condition of medical waste management in general, remains grossly unsatisfactory.
DISHA campaigns for safe management of bio-medical waste in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner. The key to proper management of health care waste lies in their proper segregation, treatment and disposal. DISHA advocates a system for bio-medical waste management that has the following basic features:
- Reduction of the amount of waste
- Reuse of materials with proper safety
- Resource recovery through composting and recycling
- Economic and
- Policy Level Intervention
- Ground Level Activities
DISHA launched a campaign in 1996-97 to revise the proposal, contained in the World Bank project, to install incinerators at every hospital and medical centre in West Bengal having more than 300 beds. The campaign was supported by the network of international organizations, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH). The proposal was eventually dropped.
DISHA conducted a base line survey on the status of disposal of medical waste at four important private hospitals of Kolkata in 1997. Recommendations were made for safe-management of the hospital waste.
DISHA was involved with setting up of safe waste management project in a specialized rural hospital having no municipal facilities.
DISHA was entrusted with the task of Waste Audit of 20 secondary level government hospitals in West Bengal under the West Bengal State Health System Development Project. The study, completed in 2003, not only contributed to the designing of more appropriate waste management systems in the health care institutions but also indicated the possibilities of resource recovery by assessing the amounts of compostables and recyclables in health care waste.
DISHA was entrusted with the task of Monitoring Health Care Waste Management in 100 government hospitals spread over 14 districts in West Bengal. This assignment under the West Bengal State Health System Development Project considerably furthered implementation of health care waste management in the designated hospitals. It also helped in generating valuable observational data that brought out the problems and prospects of implementing the system. Recommendations were made on the basis of the observations. See REPORT on Health Care Waste Management Action Plan in Hundred Hospitals.
DISHA has also been entrusted with the task of providing Sanitation Management Training for Group-D and Safai Karmacharis in 13 secondary level government hospitals of 4 districts of West Bengal.
DISHA was entrusted with the task of developing a Strategy Action Plan for Management of Health Care Waste in the Basic Health Care System in rural West Bengal. The project was supported by the German Technical Assistance (GTZ) for Health Sector Support. In consequence of preparation of the strategy the Implementation Plan for Bankura District has been prepared under this project.
DISHA, since 1996, has been organising public campaign and undertaking watchdog function for safe management of medical waste.
DISHA is a member of the international network HCWH ? (Health Care Without Harm) and a founder member of HuMAN (Health and Us ? Medical Waste Action Network) - a national network.
DISHA is working to develop a network of organizations active on medical waste in East and North-East India.
DISHA offers its services to help health care institutions, health and municipal authorities towards safe and eco-friendly management of bio-medical waste.