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Six private Kenyan hospitals on spot over medical waste disposal

Six private hospitals are on the spot over illegal disposal of hazardous medical waste.

The institutions are accused of disposing the waste at Gioto dumpsite in Nakuru town.

Agha Khan University Hospital, Mediheal, Egerton University, Family Care, Nairobi Women’s Hospital and Kliniq are said to have been disposing the waste at night at the site over a period of time.

Nakuru Public Health Officer Samuel King’ori yesterday said the hospitals would be charged with illegal dumping of waste.

 Nakuru County workers at the Gioto Dumpsite yesterday. Some six private hospitals in the town have been accused of dumping their medical waste at the site illegally. (PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/ STANDARD)

Among the waste recovered at the site was dialysis trash, laboratory specimens including used hypodermic needles, diapers, gynaecology items and gloves.

Dr King’ori also gave a 12-hour ultimatum to the hospitals’ managements to collect the waste and dispose it in designated areas.

Spot check

Failure to observe proper medical waste management, he said, would see the hospitals’ licences withdrawn.

“We received information from the public that the hospitals have been dumping waste at the site at night, and on visiting the scene, we recovered used items bearing the hospitals’ logos,” said King’ori.

The officer said the waste was a risk to children playing at the site and a recipe for disease outbreaks in the area.

When The Standard visited the site yesterday, waste from the hospital theatres and general wards, including blood-soaked cotton wool, were strewn around the area.

According to investigations by the health department, the six hospitals do not have incinerators to dispose of the waste.

The hospitals, however, distanced themselves from the allegations, saying they do not dump the waste at the site.

Nairobi Women’s Hospital’s Officer in Charge of Maintenance Ken Otieno said the hospital has a running contract with Tranfixed Company to dispose its sanitary and medical waste.

He said in the agreement, the waste is supposed to be taken to the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital (PGH) for incineration while the general waste including food and papers are dumped at the Gioto dump site.

The company, he said, collects sanitary and medical waste at the hospital twice a week.

“The hospital has contracted the company to dispose the waste but medical and sanitary is to be taken to PGH for incineration,” said Mr Otieno.

Family Care said the administration had contracted Nakuru Hygiene Company to dispose its general waste, which is collected twice a week.

The hospital’s Officer in Charge Methusela Ocharo said the sanitary and medical waste is taken to PGH and Annex for incineration.

“The hospital is not aware about waste at Gioto dump site, because,  our staff take the waste to PGH,” said Mr Ocharo.

Nakuru Mediheal Officer in Charge Zala Amarsinh said they have a contract with Transfixed Company that collects its disposable waste once a week.

 blame game

The hospital, she said,  takes its sanitary and medical waste to PGH for incineration.

Egerton Vice Chancellor Rose Mwonya said the students do their practicals at PGH and the institution was not aware on how the alleged waste found its way to the site.

At the site and oblivious of the dangers they were exposing themselves to, children were picking used syringes and filling them with water.

The underage, including street children, walked across the garbage on bare foot collecting ‘valuables’.

“The waste is always dumped here and we are used to collecting ‘valuables’ and playing with the needles,” said one child after being stopped from collecting the waste.

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