Biomedical waste management amid Covid-19 through hospitals and diagnostic labs
This COVID-19 pandemic has wholly transformed, how hospitals function. It has thrown hospitals in disarray, and completely changed the way, by which hospitals are working. In the initial days, when the pandemic struck, many doctors and nurses stayed away from hospitals, even in reputable hospitals like All India Institute of Medical Sciences ( AIIMS ). Many of them also quit, due to very high work pressure and an increased workload of cases. Even those who are working have to deal with a lot of biomedical waste while dealing with COVID pandemic.
Biomedical waste is a particular type of waste containing infectious materials. This type of waste may also include waste, which is of medical or from labs like infusion kits, packaging and unused bandages and even R&D waste, containing biomolecules, which are not supposed to be released in the environment. Biomedical waste can be of liquid or solid waste. There are solid examples like sharps, used bandages, discarded blood, lab waste. Waste sharps consist of used needles, lancets, scalpels and needles. This kind of waste is usually generated from medical and biological sources like disease treatment, diagnosis and prevention.
COVID-19 has dramatically exposed the frailties of the Indian healthcare system. Unlike China, where it has mostly been controlled, no of cases have risen a lot, from a mere four hundred seventy in March to around half a million within ninety days. It led to immediate lockdowns and a slump in economic activity.
Business and Economy
It is estimated that even after the pandemic is over, patients will concentrate on critical life surgeries. Regarding the manufacturing segment, there is significantly less supply of raw materials. Considering the medical devices segment, the supply chain is facing significant hindrances. It is getting exasperated by the inverse duty structure, which gives preference to finished products over raw materials. But, due to COVID-19, the world is shifting its production of IVDs, APIs from China to India. India can occupy the no.1 spot in the field of pharma production.
However, all is not gloomy due to COVID-19, innovation and business foresight for any kind of business survival. Since, many firms are struggling in countries in Pakistan, Bangladesh, since, they are highly dependent for Active Pharmaceuticals Unit, on China. Henceforth, nearly all firms will have diversified sources of API’s. So, a solid business continuity plan is essential for curbing the impact of future disruptions. Adaptability and flexibility are necessary to succeed in business. Also, the values of compassion, social consciousness and humanity, must be ingrained in every individual.
Position of Indian Healthcare Industry
As of today, India is the third-largest producer of pharma and related products and is a significant exporter of medical devices and generic drugs to nearly all parts of the world. The world is actively looking to India and China to supply pharmaceuticals to combat the COVID crisis. The fantastic thing is that all the biggest pharma firms in the world like Pfizer, Merck, Roche, Glaxo Smithkline and Novartis are US or European. But, they rely on API’s from China and India.
The country has presented the Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016 and the Central Pollution Control Board ( CPCB ). CPCB is a statutory firm, which is under the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forest, which has given a set of rules to ensure proper COVID-19 waste management. Recently, the rules have been revised on July 21, 2020. These rules apply to quarantine centres, isolation wards, labs, biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities and Urban Local Bodies. New measures have been implemented like colour-coded bins for segregation, separate rooms for storage and collection and specific trolleys for transportation.
Additionally, there are puncture-proof containers placed to throw away sharp objects like syringes and needles. After collecting their waste, the lab staff shifts the staff to the temporary storage room in the basement. The waste material is then disinfected with the help of autoclave, which is a machine, performing sterilisation under higher pressure and temperature. Once, the waste is sanitised, hospitals hand it over to biomedical waste people, who load in their cars and processing it further.
The biomedical waste personnel play a very crucial role while treating biomedical waste and reduce its destructive effects. This firm is used to shred and incinerate the anatomical remains of the human being and recycle or sell items, which cannot be degraded biologically like plastic. Many measures like disinfecting bags, the appointment of additional housekeeping staff for collecting COVID-19 waste and dustbin labelling have been made mandatory.
On top of all these measures, it is exceptionally significant, to educate citizens about the ill effects of biomedical waste among hospitals and how to dispose of it, safely and soundly.
In this blog, readers will get adequate information about the way, hospitals and diagnostic labs in the whole country are managing biomedical waste, amid this devastating pandemic.