Government Warns Hospitals to Strictly Manage Waste

Source: The Himalyan Times

Kathmandu - The government has warned that it would shut hospitals failing to set up waste treatment plant.

Krishna Hari Baskota, Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, said at an interaction that the government would be forced to shut the hospitals if they failed to set up medical waste treatment plant in accordance with the existing laws. The interaction was organised by Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre. 

A team led by Baskota had inspected hospitals and health care institution in the Kathmandu Valley starting December 20. The team monitored Bir Hospital, Kathmandu Medical College and Nepal Medical College on December 20 and 21 and found that only Bir Hospital was managing medical waste in a proper manner. 

Baskota also mentioned some interesting findings. He said a 300-bed private hospital in the Capital has added 400 hundred beds in the last four years. “But the hospital management told us it did not have enough funds to establish waste treatment plant,” said Baskota but stopped short of revealing the name of the hospital. “If hospitals fail to abide by the law, they will be closed down, and doctors can go to their home districts. No one is above the law and no one will be excused for flouting the law,” he added. 

There are 4,526 health institutions, 332 private hospitals and nursing homes, 18 medical colleges, nine dental hospitals and four academies in Nepal. But both government and private hospitals have been found to be mixing general waste with medical waste. “Are the hospitals treating patients or making more people sick?” questioned Sumitra Amatya, Executive Director of SWMTSC.

Parliament in May last year approved the bill on the Solid Waste Management Act 2011 that provisions a fine of Rs 500-100,000 and jail sentence of 15-180 days for violating the waste law. After implementation of the Act, SWMTSC issued circulars to all the medical institutions in the Kathmandu Valley about a year ago, calling for them to abide by rules.

Dr TR Burlakoti, Joint Secretary, MoHP, said the government will not renew licences of those hospitals that fail to meet the standards as per laws by March 31. “We notified them about a year ago. If they fail to maintain the standards, their operation will be deemed illegal from April 1 and they will be closed down,” said Dr Burlakoti.