LGUs asked to intensify campaign on medical waste management

By Azer Parrocha

April 13, 2020, 6:56 pm

<p>Cabinet Secretary Karlos Nograles</p>

Cabinet Secretary Karlos Nograles

MANILA – To ensure health and environmental safety amid the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, local government units (LGUs) were asked to ramp up their efforts in handling and disposal of health care waste.

Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) spokesperson Karlo Nograles urged LGUs to observe existing protocol under the Infection Control of healthcare facilities.

“We urge our LGUs to continuously intensify their campaigns on proper waste management and segregation as they are responsible for solid waste management in their respective jurisdictions,” he said in a virtual presser on Monday.

As part of the protocol, he said all health care waste is pre-treated with chemical disinfectants such as hypochlorite solution.

Sodium hypochlorite, commonly referred to as bleach, is an effective disinfectant having broad applications, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This chemical appears to offer the best mix of low cost, ease of use, safety, and effectiveness in areas where there is enough water to drink and water is not excessively turbid, the CDC said.

Nograles said the Department of Health (DOH) must also disseminate information, particularly to field personnel, regarding the need to pre-treat waste like used personal protective equipment (PPE) gears for patients under investigation (PUIs) or Covid-19 patients under home quarantine.

“The department will soon be issuing guidelines on the use of hypochlorite solution for the infection prevention of Covid-19,” he said.

Last Sunday, Nograles said the IATF-EID will be weighing the pros and cons of spraying or misting of disinfectants to reduce the transmission of Covid-19.

He said while the IATF members have yet to meet, the DOH recommendation will be honored.

The DOH, in a statement, said there is no evidence to support that spraying of surfaces or large-scale misting of areas, indoor or outdoor with disinfecting agents, kills the virus.

Spraying or misting poses an additional health concern as it can cause pathogens to be dispersed further during spraying, the DOH said.

It may also result in skin irritation and inhalation of chemicals, and cause environmental pollution, among others.

Instead of spraying or misting, the DOH advised the public to soak objects or disinfect surfaces to kill the virus. (PNA)