Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Medical waste a growing health hazard in Iraq

Iraqi doctors are growing increasingly concerned about the health hazards posed by indisposed medical waste, according to an IRIN report on Sunday. Hospitals no longer have enough fuel to burn their medical waste so they have resorted to leaving it outside the main gate to be collected and deposited in rubbish yards. Security concerns have impacted pick-up schedules though. Last year, at least 15 rubbish collectors were killed doing their jobs.

Whether from the rubbish yard or directly in front of the hospital, some poverty-stricken families have resorted to filtering through the waste to find goods to sell in the market so that they can purchase food. “We find some good metal things which we can sell in the market. Some people buy syringes with needles from us. I don’t think the needles can harm us because they must have been sterilized already,” one woman who sorts through the waste with her two children said.

“Poor people searching for stuff in rubbish that can be recycled or sold do not know what they can contract in dumps. Bacterial or viral infections can be easily contracted from the waste disposed by hospitals and clinics,” a Baghdad specialist in infectious diseases said.

Doctors throughout Iraq are urging their government to take action to properly dispose of the waste and raise awareness of the health hazards associated with waste contact.

For the full article, click here.


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