April 29, 2011
School of Business, Bengaluru
Used syringes and bandages, blood stained cotton and glucose bottles scattered on hospital floors; improper biomedical waste disposal creates poor sanitary conditions that can make people sick instead of well.
Biomedical waste is potentially infectious solid, liquid, sharp or laboratory biological waste generated in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease.
It’s a common problem in developing nations like India, Brazil and China where standardized biomedical waste disposal policies and practices are lacking.
Here in India, biomedical waste is sometimes dumped in open fields, endangering human and animal life. Rag pickers are most at risk; a simple needle prick can spread blood borne diseases like hepatitis and HIV.
Biomedical waste doesn’t just come from hospitals, it’s generated in households too. Syringes used for insulin dependent diabetics and other possibly infectious agents like lancets, are considered household biomedical waste.
Proper disposal and careful handling of biomedical waste is essential to prevent the spread of disease.
Dr. Doreswamy of the Amrita School of Business with his students, Sanura Jerome and Nithya G., both second-year MBA-MS students, recently presented papers on the biomedical waste disposal problem in India.
A paper titled, A Study of Bio-medical Waste in Bangalore, was accepted for presentation at the Rio De Janeiro International Conference organized by Ponyifica Universidade, Catolica do Rio de Janiero (PUC-Rio).
The paper focused on developing an effective model to minimize health risks for medical practitioners who handle and dispose of biomedical waste.
In December 2010, Dr. Doreswamy travelled with his students to IIM-Ahmedabad, to present an effective waste handling model to minimize health risks to people and animals exposed to biomedical waste in and around Bangalore. Particular emphasis was placed on the thousands of rag pickers who routinely contact biomedical waste.
Developing policies and regulations for proper biomedical waste management and disposal in emerging nations is fundamental. Avoiding unnecessary risk in hospitals and communities is a priority.
Every year an estimated 23.5 million new HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C infections are transmitted through needle re-use and accidental needle-stick injuries.
Helping to understand the need for adopting better methods of disposal, Amrita students and faculty are contributing to the solution.