Biomedical waste refers to any kind of bodily waste that is generated during the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of a person suffering from an infectious disease. Biomedical waste can include bodily waste (blood, urine, stool, etc.) or surgically removed body parts that could potentially infect any unprotected person who comes across it thereby leading to the spread of the disease. It could also include infected needles and syringes, live vaccines, lab samples and cultures, and lancets. These are potentially infectious material that could lead to the spread of contagious diseases if not disposed of in a secure manner.
Bio-Medical Waste Management
Exposure to biomedical waste poses a grave threat to human health and to the environment at large. This makes it very important to have secure and specific disposal and treatment systems in place. Biomedical waste can be managed by proper segregation through color-coded biomedical waste bags which are resistant to leakages and punctures and by safe movement minimizing the risk of exposure to waste disposal employees. They can be disposed of by incineration in specialized treatment facilities. The movement of such biomedical waste needs to follow the strict operation and disposal protocols for the protection of community health.
Bridging The Gap
One of the greatest challenges faced by Indian medical and social institutions when it comes to the disposal of biomedical waste is the lack of awareness and training. In rural areas, particularly where medical infrastructure is not quite advanced there is a great deal of lack of awareness of the systems to be followed for safe disposal of biomedical waste. This leads to contamination and the spread of diseases. The emphasis on such awareness is low even in nursing schools and public health centers. This is why the role of non-governmental organizations or NGOs becomes very important.
Role Of NGOs
The outreach of NGOs working with healthcare issues is quite extensive, particularly in the smaller towns and villages of India. These NGOs are best equipped to run training programs and awareness campaigns in these rural areas. In many Indian states, NGOs have been contracted by government health departments to organize seminars and awareness workshops. There remains much more to be done, though. There is a great need for funding too. Hospitals and medical centers across the country need to be equipped with the requisite equipment for effective biomedical waste management. CSR funding from medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies such as Romsons can be directed to this effect. There is, in all, a massive effort required by the government, NGOs, and medical administrators to overhaul the standards of biomedical waste disposal in this country.