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UAE - No more medical waste on Sharjah streets

By Mahmood Saberi, Senior reporter

Sharjah facility treats up to 400kg of medical waste every hour.

Sharjah: Until recently, clinics in Sharjah would dispose of medical waste in regular trash bins and shocked residents complained to Gulf News about finding bloodied bandages on secondary streets.
Three years ago, a company called Wekaya was established. It was a collaboration between the Sharjah Environmental Company Bee’ah and the non-profit organisation Green Planet.
The Sharjah Municipality had outsourced the specialised services of disposing of medical waste to the company that spearheaded the training for medical staff and for those handling such hazardous waste.
Medical waste in Sharjah is now transported to a plant in the Al Saja’a Industrial Area, where it is sterilised using an autoclave device that uses high-pressure steam.
This facility caters to 422 hospitals and medical clinics across the emirate, including 25 veterinary centres, 257 medical centres and complexes and 17 private hospitals in Sharjah.

Huge challenge
Getting rid of this waste is an enormous job. To put it into perspective, just one hospital, Zulekha in Sharjah, generates 8,000kg of medical waste a month. That works out to 150kg to 400kg daily, says Dr Shoaib Ehsan Hasani, specialist microbiologist and infection control coordinator at the hospital.
The doctor said the hospital has a special temperature-controlled room to store the waste until it is picked up, to reduce the chances of the pathogens multiplying.

Periodic vaccinations
Hospitals are taking extreme care to control any spread of infections and train its staff in handling medical waste, he said.
The staff that handles the medical waste undergoes periodical vaccinations that are mandatory, he said.
Wekaya provides litter bins to large hospitals for safe storage till the waste is picked up and transported to the Al Saja’a facility.
Each bin is then tagged, scanned and sealed. The facility is capable of treating 350kg to 400kg per hour, depending on density.
The 120-litre containers provided by the company are then replaced with disinfected ones.
Wekaya notes that medical waste passes through several stages before treatment and disposal.
On arrival of the vehicle containing the medical waste, the waste is weighed and the data is electronically recorded in the corporate database.
It is put into a main container which enters the processing device.
The treatment cycle lasts 45 minutes, as Wekaya uses the latest systems and technologies that are environment-friendly, in order for such waste to be ready after treatment for final safe disposal, according to the company.




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