Apr 1, 2013

Vietnam - Medical waste may be brought from the central to the south for treatment

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VietNamNet Bridge – Local authorities all stated they would allocate budgets for building medical waste incinerators. However, medical waste still has not been treated. A hospital in Khanh Hoa in the central region plans to carry waste to the south for treatment.

Tran Dac Phu, Deputy Head of the Environment Management Agency under the Ministry of Healthcare, said on ThienNhien.net that there are 13,640 healthcare establishments nationwide which discharge 450 tons of medical waste a day, including 47 tons of hazardous solid waste.

Experts have estimated that by 2015, the figure would rise to 600 tons per day. Meanwhile, the liquid waste to be generated by the healthcare centers would be about 125,000 cubic meters per day.

About 95 percent of the existing hospitals classify medical waste, but only 50 percent of them can meet the requirements in collecting and classifying solid medical waste.

In Vietnam, medical waste has been either dumped or incinerated, while 30.8 percent of hospitals now treat the waste with one-chamber incinerators, burn the waste or just dump the waste at the hospitals. A report of the Ministry of Healthcare showed that 45.6 percent of hospitals still don’t have medical waste water treatment systems.

Tuoi tre newspaper in late 2012 reported that 20 hospitals in Dak Lak province were found as violating the environment laws in treating medical waste. The source quoted Nguyen Hoang Tung, Head of the Dak Lak provincial Environment Protection Sub-department as saying that there was no concentrated medical waste plant in the locality, and that there was no company in charge of collecting and treating the hazardous waste.

The hospitals there were told to take responsibility for their medical waste. However, none of them has money to build waste treatment systems.

Quang Nam province in the central region, in a report released in December 2012, showed that 11 out of the 27 hospitals in the locality still had not garbage storehouses, 16/27 hospitals have the houses for storing solid waste, but they were just temporary works. The waste from the medical centers in Phu Ninh and Nong Son districts was discharged directly to the sewers in the areas.

Especially, the healthcare center in Que Son district discharged the radioactive waste to the environment without any treatment, according Phu nu Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh newspaper.

Also according to the report, 6/27 of hospitals there still did not have concentrated water waste treatment systems.

How to deal with the medical waste has become a burning issue for the hospitals in the central province of Khanh Hoa over the last 8 months, since the day the incinerator located at the Khanh Hoa Dermatology Hospital stopped operation.

The medical centers in the province have been told to treat their waste themselves.

The General Hospital of Khanh Hoa, with 1,000 beds, generates 500 kilos of medical waste every day. Since August 2012, it has to classify the waste, then steam the waste with the medical instruments steam sterilizing room and carry the waste to the Ru Ri dumping ground in the north of Nha Trang City for burning

Meanwhile, Nguyen The Tai, Deputy Director of the Khanh Hoa provincial Hospital of Lung and Tuberculosis Diseases, said the waste has been burnt with alcohol in the deep holes created right at the hospital.

“We have no other choice,” he said, adding that 50 patients receiving treatment every day, the hospital discharges 2 kilos of hazardous medical waste.

Tai said the hospital is considering signing a contract with a company on carrying the waste from the hospital in Khanh Hoa in the central region to Binh Duong province in the south for treatment.

Compiled by C. V

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