Solid waste produced by the health-care system in Kabul and other major cities is not being properly managed and poses a serious public health risk, according to health experts.
Medical waste – including used needles and syringes, soiled dressings, body parts, diagnostic samples, blood, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical devices – is lying in open rubbish dumps near hospitals in urban areas.
Afghanistan does not have bylaws on the safe management of medical waste, and over 60 public and private hospitals in Kabul do not have incinerators or other equipment to deal with the problem.
At least seven children involved in scavenging in Herat Province, western Afghanistan, have been infected by hepatitis B, syphilis and suspected cases of HIV, the Children Protection Action Network (C-PAN) reported.
Officials at Kabul Municipality also reported at least two suspected cases of hepatitis B among city cleaners in September.
Related web site: WHO – Healthcare Waste Management
Source: IRIN, 14 Oct 2008