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Chennai and Mumbai, the only cities with biomedical waste management, finds study

According to a recent study Chennai and Mumbai are the only Indian cities with an effective system to manage biomedical waste, whereas Delhi and other north Indian state capitals have a poor record.

The survey by the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN), published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, covered 400 hospitals, both government and private, in 20 states. It found that around 82 per cent of primary, 60 per cent of secondary and 54 per cent of tertiary health care facilities have no credible biomedical waste management system in place.

Of the 10 cities it covered, seven including Delhi, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Lucknow received a 'red' rating to indicate that they fell short of the bare minimum required to ensure safe disposal of medical waste. Srinagar was given a 'yellow' rating which meant it required 'some additional effort' to make the grade, while Mumbai and Chennai were coded 'green'.

Though Mumbai and Chennai have topped the list as the waste management system was quite sound at the primary level according to Dr. N. K. Arora, Executive Director, INCLEN this doesn't mean the two cities have everything in place. “There's still a lot more left to be done. We need more in terms of monitoring and bringing smaller hospitals into the loop." Private hospitals in Chennai scored higher compared to institutions in Mumbai, while the latter scored higher in the public sector category.

Under the survey, availability of trained personnel, suitable containers and bags, needle destroyers, protective gear, segregation of waste at point of generation and logbook maintenance were seen as parameters associated with better biomedical waste management. It was found out that most tertiary care hospitals had the necessary resources. Some, like a few in Delhi, had the resources but didn't use them. Also, the survey found out that hospital staffs were handling biomedical waste without gloves.

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