The Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) is set to commence enforcement action against health facilities that do not dispose of their medical waste properly.
The Managing Director of LAWMA, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, gave the hint when he spoke against the backdrop of the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic and the need to curb the tide of the spread of infectious diseases in the state.
He said monitoring activities of his organisation had revealed that many private and public health facilities still co-mingle their wastes which he said was potentially hazardous and capable of harming health waste hauliers, refuse workers and even the environment.
He said further that the Authority had put modalities in place to monitor the waste management practices in health facilities to ensure they were in line with international best procedures.
According to him, “The waste (healthcare waste) produced in the course of healthcare activities carries a higher potential for infection and injury than any other types of waste, inadequate and inappropriate handling of it may have serious impact on public health and the environment. Hence, appropriate management of hospital waste is thus a crucial component of environmental health protection that must be an integral feature of health care services.”
Dr. Gbadegesin said the agency was committed to the welfare and protection of healthcare providers, medical waste handlers and the general public, thus necessitating the improvement of waste management services in the healthcare sector.
“The goal is to protect healthcare providers and workers, waste hauliers/ handlers, refuse workers and the general public from potential risks associated with the medical/healthcare waste”, he stated.
He said the Authority had embarked on an enforcement campaign to ensure that medical facilities in the state complied with the directive, to shun the act of waste co-mingling, which posed health hazards to their patients, as well as other residents.
“In order to protect the health seekers, healthcare givers and to curb further spread of the current pandemic disease (COVID 19) amongst other diseases, the management has decided to sanction any healthcare facility found comingling medical and domestic waste”, said Gbadegesin.
The LAWMA boss added that the agency since 2007 had been collaborating through workshops, seminars and other channels with other stakeholders like Ministry of Health, Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), and others, to sensitize all healthcare facilities, on various steps to properly manage classified wastes.
He appealed to residents to observe good environmental practices and personal hygiene at home, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, adding that LAWMA should be contacted via its toll-free line 07080601020, for waste management inquiries.