The biomedical waste disposal has become a big challenge to various private hospitals in Telangana due to rising costs by collecting agencies and reluctance by the sanitary workers to collect biomedical waste from COVID-19 wards.
According to D Devanand, chief executive officer (CEO) of a leading corporate hospital in Hyderabad, it is learnt that the biomedical waste collection agencies have increased the costs 2-3 times more than what it used to be previously before the outbreak of corona pandemic.
“During the past 2-3 months we have been facing lot of problems in disposing off the biomedical waste due to various reasons. The collection agencies are now charging 2-3 times more than what they used to charge before the pandemic. Not just that, the biomedical waste is getting piled up due to many sanitary workers not showing interest to collect garbage from the COVID-19 wards,” informed Devanand.
It is learnt that for a 100-bed hospital, it is costing any way between Rs. 5-6 lakhs for the disposal of biomedical waste, as the agencies have doubled and tripled their costs for collection and disposal of the medical waste generated by the hospitals. Devanand stated that unlike earlier, where the biomedical waste colleting agencies used to charge considerably low, but post the outbreak of the pandemic, they have increased nearly 3 times of the original cost. Not just the rising costs by the waste collection agencies have impacted the hospitals treating the COVID-19 patients, but they are also affected by the rising costs of disposable materials used in the hospitals.
In addition to the rising costs, the shortage of sanitary staff to work in the COVID-19 wards for the collection of the biomedical waste generated from the COVID-19 patients is also worrying the hospitals. Many sanitary staff are expressing their inability to work in the COVID-19 wards, resulting in the bio-medical waste piling up in many hospitals which is raising the danger of further infection.
From earlier just 20 leading corporate hospitals who were treating the COVID-19 patients in Telangana, this number has increased to more than 100 hospitals who are admitting COVID-19 patients. Because of the rising number of infected patients being admitted into the hospitals, the quantum of biomedical waste generated is also rising.
In view of the above challenges, the private hospitals have rolled out various incentives for the sanitary workers who are collecting biomedical waste from the hospitals. They are also being provided special training to the garbage collection and making them learn how to take precautionary measures to ensure they do not get infected while collecting the garbage. The sanitary workers are also given assurance of extra allowance per duty, free treatment, free food to all staff during isolation period etc, so that their mindset is changed and get ready to work.
“While we have slowly tried to train the sanitary workers to change their mindset by providing various incentives and encouragements for them to work in COVID-19 wards is yielding fruits, the cost of biomedical disposal by private agencies has definitely impacted the hospitals, which are already under the financial crises due to close down by the pandemic. It is high time the state government should come out with some kind of incentives for the hospitals so that they can come out of the tough crises situation,” observed V Rakesh, president of Telangana Private Network Hospitals Association.