HAZARDOUS WASTE. Manila City government personnel act on a report from a netizen about scattered used rapid test kits along M. Dela Fuente St. in Sampaloc on Tuesday evening (Sep. 1, 2020). Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso said the incident is now under probe with the help of the Manila Police District. (Photo from Manila PIO)

MANILA – Healthcare facilities that improperly dispose of healthcare wastes and used rapid test kits face sanctions, a health official said Wednesday.

In a virtual media forum, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said healthcare wastes should be placed in a separate container approved by the environment department because its disposal is different from ordinary waste products.

Vergeire issued the warning after residents in Sampaloc, Manila found a sack of used rapid antibody test kits along M. Dela Fuente Street.

"Let us try to understand that these rapid test kits are healthcare wastes. Katulad niyan nalaglag doon sa kalye o baka hinahawakan lang ng mga nagkokolekta na walang (Like those [kits] which fell on the street or the collectors may have touched them without) gloves and they can easily get infections and there'll be harm among the people," Vergeire said.

Apart from the test kits, personal protective equipment used by healthcare workers, and other items used for the treatment of patients must be disposed of properly following healthcare waste disposal protocols, Vergeire added.

"They should be placed in a bag with proper label that they are healthcare wastes and there are designated places for healthcare wastes as approved by Department of Environment and Natural Resources," she said.

She urged healthcare facilities to ensure proper disposal of healthcare wastes, saying these are hazardous and could cause harm to people.

Healthcare facilities that fail to comply with healthcare waste disposal protocols will receive a warning on their first violation from the DOH.

"We will suspend you if you still fail to comply, and, final will be revocation of your license, and aside from that kung may iba pang tatamaan na batas (other sanctions for violation of other laws) with regard to this healthcare waste," Vergeire said. (PNA)