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DOHA: The Ministry of Environment yesterday issued the first reference guide for management of medical waste in Qatar. The guide was published as part of implementing a national plan on hazardous waste management and creating awareness about procedures adopted for handling healthcare wastes, in particular.
“The ministry has formed several teams to review the current situation, propose plans and national legislation for hazardous waste management. The plan focuses on creating awareness about the hazardous wastes first, followed with information on handling these wastes and then looking into legal and regulatory side of the issue,” said Dr Rashid Ahmed Al Kuwari, Assistant Undersecretary for Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Environment. To ensure that the guidelines are being followed, the ministry is studying the current standards followed in medical waste management in the healthcare facilities in Qatar and then based on the reference book, issue corrective methods to be implemented. Later, to enforce the regulations, the ministry will monitor and take legal action against offenders.
The reference guide has nine chapters focusing on all aspects of medical waste management from its effects on the environment and health to conditions on separation, disposal, collection, transport and treating of these wastes.
There are also guidelines on medical waste of veterinary clinics and guidelines on training and safety of workers in treatment plants.
The guideline will be published in Arabic and English as pamphlets, which will be distributed at all healthcare facilities in the country and also as e-mails for all administrators of medical centres.
The guidelines will also be posted on Ministry of Environment website.
According to the reference guide, these wastes pose danger to the environment and health. Improper disposal of these wastes can lead to microbial spread through air, apart from the ground water and soil contamination.
The reference guide also specifies that bags used to dispose the wastes should be of maximum 100 litres and 150 micron thick and sealed properly.
The containers for medical waste materials should be yellow coloured and for radioactive substances the containers should be made of metal. Human and animal tissues, organs and placenta should be stored in mortuary chillers until disposed off according to Shariah rulings, according to the guideline which is made by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Primary Health Centres under Supreme Council of Health and Hamad Medical Corporation.