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NABH to issue guidelines to promote sustainability in hospitals

The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) will issue guidelines to introduce clean practices and promote climate action and sustainability in hospitals, said Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO of the country’s main accreditation body for hospitals.

Kochhar said the step is needed because hospitals are prominent sources of biomedical waste and disposables.

“Various case studies are available to show the positive results for adopting sustainability practices. Assessments conducted by NABH includes review of Biomedical waste management practices and also biomedical waste authorization is required for NABH accreditation,” Kochhar told Mint.

Biomedical waste is any waste produced during the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human or animalsor in the production or testing of biologicals.

There are four types of biomedical waste: infectious waste; sharp\ objects like needles, scalpels, broken glass, and razors; pathological waste (body parts, fluids, or blood); and pharmaceutical waste.

“WHO has released the guidance document for climate resilient and environmentally sustainable healthcare. The ministry of health has released guidelines for resilient hospitals and also included the same in the latest Indian Public Health Standards. Above all these, events like cyclone Biparjoy, heatwaves etc. are quite alarming. Thus NABH included climate action and sustainability from 5th edition,” Kochhar noted.

During the Covid-19 epidemic, biomedical waste management was a serious issue and exposed the poor knowledge on segregation awareness in India.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) annual report on biomedical waste management for 2021, the state pollution control boards and committees issued 15,355 show-cause notices /directions to defaulter facilities.

Biomedical waste management refers to completely removing all the hazardous and infectious waste generated from hospital settings. Waste treatment is meant to remove all the pathogenic organisms by decontaminating the waste generated.

According to a CPCB compliation of data, there are 393,242 HealthCare Facilities in the nation. Around 67.8 % of these are non-bedded and include clinics, labs, blood banks, dispensaries and veterinary facilities.

Hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities with beds make up the remaining 32.2%.

Only 156,540 HCFs have authorization from State Pollution Control Board (SPCBs) or Pollution Control Committees. Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have the most HCFs for which authorization is still pending.

An email sent to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry remained unanswered till print time. LiveMint

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