Understanding and simplifying bio-medical waste management

The issue of medical waste management was first taken up in India around 1995.A lot has changed since then in the way medical waste is handled, stored, treated and disposed.

An important catalyst to this change have been the Bio-medical Waste (Management &Handling) Rules 1998. Framing the rules was one important aspect of waste management, but implementing the rules required that the medical fraternity understood the rules and adopted them into their professional environments. This was possible only through large-scale training of medical staff. Considering the geographical spread of India, and the size of its medical sec-tor, this has been, and continues to be, a challenging task.

Srishti, a programme of Toxics Link, has played its part in training healthcare professionals regarding medical waste management and the implementation of management systems in hospitals and other medical institutions. Srishti emphasises the importance of managerial interventions and staff dedication to bring about efficient waste management practices. It works towards dispelling the belief that technology is the only solution for medical waste management.

As our work with various hospitals has progressed, the training needs have also increased. As a result, training has gradually become one of our focal areas. We have learnt from each training session; every hospital has its unique problems and challenges. As we attempted to resolve particular problems, and respond to the queries of the hospital staff, we enhanced our understanding of the practical problems and the unique needs of healthcare institutions. This helped us evolve our training methodology as well as its content.

Apart from training hospital staff, we have also conducted various Training of Trainers(ToT) programmes all around the country, in association with various hospitals and Pollution Control Boards/ Committees. These programmes create a brigade of trainers who act as ambassadors and take the message of waste management forward.

By the end of such sessions, trainees are exposed to a lot of information, but they do not have enough time to assimilate everything. Once they return to their workplaces, they have ex-pressed the need for a comprehensive resource on training. This manual has been compiled to fulfill their requirement. The main aim of the manual is to ensure that every healthcare worker and other stakeholders are aware of the hazards associated with improper bio-medical waste management.

The manual has been produced to provide a convenient, up-to-date training resource that will allow interested people and trainers to increase awareness on waste management and related issues at every level in their organisation. The Training manual has six sections and each section has slides on a particular topic. Most of the points in the slides are self explanatory, but some of them, which may need explanations, have descriptive notes. This manual would keep evolving to address newer issues as experience in this field grows. Your suggestions and comments on the manual would therefore be highly appreciated.

Understanding and simplifying bio-medical waste management
Type of Document: 
Health Care Without Harm
Published Year: