TOWARDS IMPROVED HEALTH CARE WASTE MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA
Owing to the size of its operations, the Health Sector is recognized globally as one of the large waste generators. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 10% of waste generated in health care facilities is infectious and improper disposal of such waste expose human beings and the environment to serious health risks.
The need to handle waste from this sector in a safe manner and in accordance with internationally accepted standards gave birth to the draft National Environmental (Healthcare Waste Control) Regulations, 2017, put together by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Presenting a paper on Healthcare Waste Management with focus on Pharmaceutical Waste at the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) “ONE HEALTH” NFELTP-NCDC workshop, organized by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recently in Abuja, the Director Inspection and Enforcement of NESREA, Mrs. Miranda Amachree, said the main thrust of the Healthcare Waste Control Regulation is to prevent and minimize waste emanating from the activities of health care facilities to safeguard human health and environment.
Mrs. Amachree who was represented by the Deputy Director, Electrical and Electronics, Mr. Abdussalam Isa disclosed that the Regulation stipulates that persons and facilities that generate medical waste are responsible for collection and disposal of such waste.
“It also makes it mandatory for owners of new healthcare facilities and healthcare waste treatment facilities to conduct site specific Environmental Impact Assessment”, she added.
Speaking further, Mrs. Amachree stated that when passed into law, the regulation would prohibit the handling, mixing, treatment, storing, transportation or disposal of non hazardous items with hazardous items, and also make it illegal for any healthcare waste treatment facility to burn healthcare waste in Nigeria.