Health Care

Governments Recognize Air Pollution’s Threat to Human Health

World Health Assembly's Air Pollution Resolution is a Small First Step

The world's governments took an important step forward in recognizing air pollution as a major threat to human health, by issuing a resolution at the World Health Assembly in Geneva this week. The resolution mandates greater engagement by the World Health Organization to address a problem responsible for one out of eight deaths worldwide.

The passage of this resolution marks a significant milestone in the global consensus among health leaders that air pollution has serious and costly health consequences, and therefore requires urgent action on the part of the health sector worldwide. It follows the WHO's finding that air pollution exposure caused 7 million premature deaths in 2012, more than twice the death toll from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

At the same time however, governments at the World Health Assembly were unwilling or unable to address the single most significant source of both outdoor air pollution and climate change: society's dependence on fossil fuels, particularly the combustion of coal for energy generation.

"The resolution is an important step forward in that it will raise consciousness in the health sector and empower WHO to more robustly address the problem,” said Josh Karliner, Director of Global Projects at Health Care Without Harm. “But it is only a small step at a time when we urgently need to take a giant leap to protect public health from both air pollution and climate change."

The magnitude and urgency of the problem continues to far outweigh the scale of the action. Earlier this month, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report found that "subsidies," or societal costs of fossil fuels worldwide surpassed all health spending globally, amounting to U.S. $5.3 trillion, or 6.5% of global GDP. The IMF found that ending these subsidies would slash the number of premature deaths from outdoor air pollution by 55%, or about 1.6 million lives a year. Moving away from coal, they found, would account for a 93% share of this reduction.

Coal also accounts for one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, so a transition away from coal would also protect public health from climate change. Yet the health benefits of transitioning from fossil fuels were not mentioned in the resolution.

"Solar and wind power are increasingly cost-competitive with fossil fuels in today's economy," said Karliner. "When you take the health costs and benefits of different energy choices into account, clean, renewable energy emerges the winner, hands down."

A year from now, WHO plans to propose a roadmap for an enhanced global health sector response to address the adverse health effects of air pollution.

"We hope that the WHO roadmap can help chart a global transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean, healthy renewable energy," said Dr. Renzo Guinto, Healthy Energy Initiative for Health Care Without Harm Asia.

The global health community has created an impressive Global Fund to deal with HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB,” said Dr. Guinto, "it needs to generate similar ambition to address the causes and consequences of air pollution."


About the Healthy Energy Initiative

The Healthy Energy Initiative, a program of Health Care Without Harm, is a global network of health professionals, academics, and organizations calling for a shift from coal and other fossil fuels, to clean, renewable, healthy energy. For more on the Healthy Energy Initiative’s response to the World Health Assembly air pollution resolution, visit www.healthyenergyinitiative.org

 

May 28, 2015Global

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Earthquake Relief | HCWH Helps Strategic Partner in Nepal

Ruth Stringer, Health Care Without Harm's Science and Policy Coordinator, has traveled to Nepal to help Health Care Foundation Nepal (HECAF). 

HCWH has collaborated with HECAF for the past eight years to build sustainable health care waste management systems in hospitals across one of the world’s most impoverished countries.

Through this blog posts, Ruth is sharing daily news on her journey related to the situation of the hospitals in the country, their waste treatment systems and her experience traveling around Nepal with Mahesh Nakarmi, director of the Healthcare Waste Management Program of HECAF. HCWH has also established an emergency fund to support HECAF:

  • Provide direct relief for HECAF staff and other colleagues who have lost homes and loved ones.
  • Keep sustainable healthcare waste management systems running in Nepal.
  • Provide disaster relief that builds a green, resilient health care system for the future.

The Skoll Foundation has already pledged $25,000 to this fund as a match. In other words, make a tax-deductible contribution, and your money is immediately doubled! To donate now, click here!


Journal

Tuesday, May 12th 2015:

Today another earthquake hit the Himalayas, followed by at least 2 significant aftershocks.

We were out of town, visiting a health post and as the driver felt the shaking and pulled up, some boulders came rolling onto the road about 50 yards behind us. We could see dust rising across the valley from falling buildings or landslides.

Just five minutes earlier we had passed a landslide so big we had to get out and walk so the car was light enough to get over. At the top a bunch of kids were laughing at the passing vehicles and shouting Aayo (literally "coming" as in "the earthquake is coming"). I hope they are still laughing now.

We stopped in the next village and weirdly could see that the tremors were continuing as the steel reinforcing bars in an unfinished building vibrating, even though we could not feel it.

As we drove back to Kathmandu, we could see fresh falls on many of the landslides and collapsed buildings, as well as new falls. Twice more we stopped when there were aftershocks. Back in the city, everyone had left their buildings and congregated in the street, and then traffic picked up as everyone tried to get home, so we waited outside the Waste treatment Center, where there is an outdoor shelter.

Saru (one the HECAF staff persons) and I also visited the Bir Hospital trauma center. They had had about 40 new admissions and one death; another hospital had reported about 65, an hour after the quake. To add to the confusion, some patients had panicked and run from the hospital when they felt the shaking. When we were there, about 3 hours after the first quake, some of them were returning or being brought back in, including one man who the nurses recognized as having "escaped" from intensive care. That is all for now. The latest report I have is of about 45 total deaths. Everyone here is fine, though I have still to check in with some of the guys in the more remote regions.

Now back at the hotel. This part of town, which is usually packed with tourists, is totally shut down and mostly without power. The generator has come on now, but even the kitchen staff are gone so earlier on I raided the kitchen for supper by the light of my mobile phone. At least it is safe. Just about the only other guests are a Japanese earthquake response team and if they are happy here, I don't think there is too much to worry about.

Monday, May 11th 2015:

Today was spent visiting field hospitals and partner hospitals. As before the field hospitals are set up without any waste management. Guidelines for the future are needed.

Some of the hospitals have suffered significant damage, yet manage to keep operational. The main building of the Maternity Hospital has been declared unsafe, and they have had to shift their patients to an old building and one recently constructed for teaching. They have managed to keep 265 beds open, instead of the usual 400. The waste treatment center, which is still under development, is undamaged, and they still plan to go ahead with it and the bio digester as planned. Tomorrow we will go and visit a health post which could be a demonstration for the waste treatment system that WHO is planning.

In general terms, life is starting to return to normal, but the city is still unnaturally quiet. It's not just the tourists that are gone, so have half the population. Many who come from unaffected areas have left for their safety; those whose homes are affected have gone home to help their families.

As well as the demolished buildings, a lot of the damage is barely visible, deep down- the buildings with small cracks that nevertheless need to be rebuilt by people who cannot afford it; the people whose livelihoods are dependent on the absent tourists; those who are traumatized by the event. One person told me they were certain they would die, another that he would rather die than go through another day like that. One of the health posts in one area where the buildings did not collapse said for the first few days, they were mostly treating people for hypertension- including teenagers.

Sunday, May 10th 2015

Saturday is the only non-working day here so Mahesh took me around the city's three Durbar Squares, each badly damaged. We also visited some of the field hospitals. The crisis has mostly passed at these, and there are no great stockpiles of waste, though none had any way to deal with their own waste.

Today started with a meeting at WHO, then the District Public Health Office. As I said before WHO wants to put WASH and waste management into the damaged health posts.

I am arguing for them to address larger facilities too. Interestingly, so is the head of the DPHO- and they are his health posts. Apparently, since a lot of them aren't very good people use private ones instead. So he is also in favor of renovating some of the larger facilities.

While this is worked out (and WHO waits for the word on how much they and get from their application to the OCHA flash appeal), we are going to look at a bunch of the health posts and maybe do demonstrations in 5-10 that are still functional.

Finally, some time at Bir Hospital. The team-especially Poonam and Saraswoti (another one, not Saru), who did not miss a single day- have done a huge job getting things under control. However, the medical staff has completely abandoned the segregation system as they moved over the road to another building. I can understand that for the first week, but they have no excuse now and as the old building has (almost all) been declared safe and they are about to start moving back, it is time to crack the whip and get things back to normal.

Mahesh has been in about three places at once, but he tells me he has been thinking about the fundraising and support for the staff and we can talk more tomorrow. It is very hard to know how to go about it fairly; we're looking at (in the region) of 5k to rebuild a house, and $500 even to get one surveyed, so we can only scratch the surface of the team's problems.

Tomorrow we will go and visit more field hospitals, hospitals, and at least one health post.

May 12, 2015Global

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Nepal Quake Relief | Support HCWH’s Country Partner Health Care Foundation Nepal

HEALTH CARE WITHOUT HARM's PhotoFor the past eight years, HCWH has collaborated the Health Care Foundation Nepal (HECAF) to build sustainable health care waste management systems in hospitals across one of the world’s most impoverished countries.  

In response to last month’s devastating quake, we have established an emergency fund to support HECAF.   The Skoll Foundation has already pledged $25,000 to this fund as a match.  In other words, make a tax-deductible contribution, and your money is immediately doubled!  Your contribution will help:

  • Provide direct relief for HECAF staff who have lost homes and loved ones.
  • Keep sustainable healthcare waste management systems running in Nepal.
  • Provide disaster relief that builds a green, resilient health care system for the future.

HECAF and HCWH are working overtime to protect public health from the aftermath of this unspeakable disaster.

May 7, 2015Global

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Nepal’s Earthquake | Support the Work of the Ambulance Service, Donate Now!

Please help Nepal and its people and donate by clicking here or on the blue Nepal Earthquake Appeal button below!

You will all heave heard of the terrible 7.9-magnitude earthquake that has rocked the south-central Asia on Saturday morning.  

The Himalayan country of Nepal is the worst affected, with at least two thousand dead and the death toll certain to climb as many of the worst affected areas are cut off. 

Many agencies are appealing for aid, but you may not know that amongst them is one of our own.

Damage 4_800Mahesh Nakarmi, diretor of the Healthcare Waste Management Program of Health Care Foundation Nepal, has been working with HCWH since 2008.

HECAF is HCWH's strategic partner in Npeal and a founding member of our Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network.  Together, HECAF and HCWH have transformed the healthcare waste management at Bir, Kathmandu's largest hospital, now treating hundreds of the injured.

On top of this, Mahesh also co-founded the National Society for Earthquake Technology and the NEPAL AMBULANCE SERVICE.

This ambulance service is the only one in the country with properly equipped vehicles and trained paramedics, working in collaboration with Stanford University.  At this moment, they are hard at work, helping to save those injured in this tragedy.  A field hospital and fresh water supply has been set up and experts from Stanford are on the way to join their efforts.

Any donations to this unique service will make a huge difference.  Please see their appeal page at http://www.friendsofnas.org/fonas2/?p=104

Please help Nepal and its people and donate by clicking on the blue Nepal Earthquake Appeal button below!

You can also show your support by liking their Facebook page ‘Friends of Nepal Ambulance Service’ or tweeting us at @FriendsofNAS and #FoNASEarthquakeAppeal

April 27, 2015Global

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HCWH Wins Grant to Drive the Procurement of Sustainable Health Care Products

Source: Skoll Foundation | United Nations Foundation

The Skoll Foundation and the United Nations Foundation announced the winners of a unique set of grants—totaling US$1 Million—that will enable partnerships between social entrepreneurs and United Nations agencies, funds, and programs designed to drive impactful social innovations.

This first-time grants application process encouraged Skoll Awardees to partner with UN agencies. This pairing combines the expertise of the world's most successful social entrepreneurs with the multinational scale of UN agencies' work.

Health Care Without Harm, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the secretariat of the UN Interagency Task Team on Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector, will collaborate to drive the procurement of sustainable health care products across the UN system, representing US$3.4 billion in annual health care purchasing. The grant will be used to develop tools to guide procurement of safer alternatives to hazardous chemical products in order to protect health care workers, patients, communities, and the environment.

Learn more:

 

April 17, 2015Global

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Health Systems Worldwide Pledge Climate Action

Commit to reducing carbon footprint through 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge

2020 low res logo no gghh(April 16, 2015) – Nine leading health care institutions from across the globe are pledging to take meaningful action on climate change, kicking off a worldwide campaign to mobilize hospitals and health systems to address one of humanity’s most pressing problems.

Their commitment signals the launch of the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, an international initiative from Health Care Without Harm’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network. The 2020 Challenge invites health care systems and hospitals to reduce their carbon footprint and protect public health from climate change in the run-up to a worldwide meeting of heads of state at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change this December in Paris.

The 2020 Challenge also marks the first international effort ever to track emissions and take measurable actions to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.

"At a time when climate change is posing one of the greatest threats to public health, hospitals and health systems are stepping up to help the world kick its addiction to fossil fuels," said Josh Karliner, Global Projects Director for Health Care Without Harm, and coordinator of its Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network. “This is a leadership moment for health care."

The 2020 Challenge participants, health systems from Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States, have committed to substantially reduce their own carbon footprint, prepare to withstand extreme weather events, and to promote public policies to reduce greenhouse emissions. Together they represent the interests of more than three hundred hospitals. Hundreds more from around the world are expected to join the Challenge in coming months. 

Initial participants in the 2020 Challenge include Counties Manukau Health (New Zealand), Gundersen Health System (USA), Hospital Albert Einstein and Hospital Sirio Libanes (Brazil), Kaiser Permanente (USA), NHS Sustainable Development Unit (England), Virginia Mason Health System (USA), Western Cape Government Health (South Africa), and Yonsei University Health System (South Korea).

Several of the initial participants, such as Kaiser Permanente, Yonsei University Health and the NHS have already committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent or more by the year 2020. All have also pledged to encourage public policy, economic development, and investment strategies that move their societies away from fossil fuel dependency and toward healthy energy alternatives."

In every region of the world, health care can lead by example," said Veronica Odriozola, Executive Director of Health Care Without Harm Latin America. "Whether it is an off the grid clinic deploying solar power to run its operations and help electrify a community, or a large hospital reducing its own emissions to address respiratory disease from air pollution, we can all move toward low carbon health care."

The 2020 Challenge is now open for hospitals and health systems from around the world to join. To participate, health systems endorse a Leadership Pledge (www.greenhospitals.net), agree to set carbon reduction targets and share data on their carbon emissions. Participants also agree to promote climate resiliency in their health systems, and work on a series of leadership activities. Global Green and Healthy Hospitals is organizing a series of events around the world to build momentum for the Challenge in the lead-up to the Paris Conference.

 

Follow the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge on Twitter:

twitter.com/Green_Hospitals (Hashtag #2020Challenge -- twitter.com/#2020Challenge)


About the launch of the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, participating health systems had this to say:

"Kaiser Permanente is making this pledge because climate change isn't a distant threat. The health impacts of a changing climate can be felt today in the form of increasing rates of asthma, spread of infectious diseases, heat stress, and injuries from severe weather events. By addressing climate change for the future, we are improving the health of communities today.”

Kathy Gerwig, Vice President and Environmental Stewardship Officer, Kaiser Permanente, USA

“We recognize that not only does climate change present a huge challenge for the health and care sector in England but also a great opportunity to change the way we work - to improve the health of people and communities, save money and help the environment. In England we have shown our commitment to this challenge by producing a strategy for sustainable development for the future with a clear vision and goals to which organizations across health and care are working."

Sonia Roschnik, Head of the Sustainable Development Unit, Representing the health and care system in England

"This challenge will expand actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase our board of directors’ engagement in climate change. The 2020 Challenge will also contribute to building up our vision of sustainability in health care."

Dr. Gonzalo Vecina Neto, Corporate Superintendent, Sirio Libanes Hospital, Brazil

"Yonsei University Health System has been implementing a greening program since 2010, not only for patient care quality but for protecting public from damages caused by climate change which intensifies natural disasters and diseases on our globe. We will continue our efforts to be a role model in close relationship with other hospitals in Korea as well as the Global Green and Healthy Network."

Dr. DongChun Shin, Yonsei University Health System, South Korea

"Climate change is a clear threat to human health. The 2020 Challenge provides health care with a path forward to act on climate and benefit quality of life everywhere. Virginia Mason, which is committed to achieving new heights in environmental stewardship, is honored to be an inaugural signatory of the Challenge and I encourage our health care colleagues around the world to join us in this important work."

Gary Kaplan, MD, Chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Health System, USA

"Counties Manukau Health recognises the global imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that this will benefit the health of people locally and around the world. We’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint as part of our mission to promote a healthier environment for our patients, staff and community. We’re excited to be part of this global effort – and proud to say we’re well on our way to achieving our target of 20% by 2017."

Debbie Wilson, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Counties Manukau District Health Board, New Zealand

"It is our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve, which includes taking action to improve and protect our environment, reduce our waste and lower our costs," says Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO of La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System. "Not every healthcare organization makes this a priority, but Gundersen – through achievement of energy independence, investment in sustainability programs and support of Health Care Without Harm initiatives – is showing it is possible to provide exceptional patient care and exceptional care for the environment.”

Dr. Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO of La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System, USA

"Health facilities are a large consumers of energy and generate waste. It is important that we try to contain our environmental footprint as much as possible. To this end we have accommodated principles of Green Design in our recent building projects. Examples of these are: the use of natural light and ventilation where possible, reduction in air conditioning, inclusion of green spaces in design, change in building material to favour environmentally-friendly choices. The Western Cape Government Health will continue to uphold these Green Design principles in our future building projects to ensure that we maintain our Provincial commitment to environment-friendly community development."

Western Cape Government Health, South Africa


More information

April 16, 2015Global

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GGHH Webinar Series | Free Webinar on Ebola and Health Care Waste: Lessons from West Africa

A Webinar with Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, world renowned expert on health care waste treatment technologies, who has just returned from two months working with UNDP in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

About

With three West African countries deep in crisis and health systems on the brink of collapse from the Ebola outbreak last year, governments and health care providers were faced with the monumental task of disposing of large amounts of highly infectious waste.

Given the lack of infrastructure in the affected countries, there was often little option but to burn the waste in open pits or rudimentary incinerators. This created a secondary set of problems including exposure of health care workers and local populations to noxious fumes and highly carcinogenic emissions of dioxins and furans.

Dr. Emmanuel will present on his experiences and work in West Africa.In the midst of this situation, UNDP sent Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, world-renowned expert on health care waste treatment technologies to West Africa to pilot African-manufactured small scale autoclaves (steam sterilization technologies) as an alternative that would protect public health while also strengthening local health systems in the long run.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the issues, treatment and disposal requirement for highly infectious health care waste that can be transmitted by contact with infectious substances such as Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers
  • Provide case example of Ebola waste management from West Africa
  • Discuss the application of non-incineration methods in other settings including risks and benefits

When?

GGHH will be hosting 2 sessions to accommodate a variety of time zones. Free of charge. Both sessions will be recorded and need registration prior to the event.

  • Session 1 | Wednesday April 22, 7 am Pacific Time Zone, 11 am Argentina Time Zone, 4 pm Central European Time Zone, 4 pm South Africa Time Zone, 10 pm Philippine Time Zone. 
  • Session 2 | Wednesday April 22: 7 pm Pacific Time Zone, 11 pm Argentina Time Zone and Thursday April 23: 4 am Central European Time Zone, 4 am South Africa Time Zone, 10 am Philippine Time Zone. 

Space is limited. Both sessions will be in English. Those who participate in the entire webinar will receive a Certificate of Attendance by email. When you complete the registration form, please provide your name as you would like it to appear on the Certificate of Attendance.

Presenters

  • Dr. Jorge Emmanuel served as Chief technical officer for the UNDP/WHO/HCWH 8 country model health care waste management project, is the author of the UNEP Compendium of Technologies for the Treatment/Destruction of Healthcare Waste, and author and editor of the WHO manual for the Safe Management of Health Care Waste.
  • Respondents, including Ruth Stringer, International Science and Policy Coordinator, Health Care Without Harm, will react to the presentation and discuss the application of similar methods in a variety of health care settings.

 

April 9, 2015Global

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Report to World Health Organization Regarding Management of Ebola-Contaminated Waste

The world's worst Ebola outbreak, finally being brought under control in West Africa, has posed huge challenges to the people and healthcare systems in the region. Treating the infected waste from the Ebola Treatment Units has proved a huge problem, with many ETUs being forced to burn or bury their waste in primitive fashion, through lack of other options. Others have low-tech incinerators, which fall far below international standards, and are not only highly polluting but potentially dangerous to operators whose personal protective gear is not heat resistant or non-flammable.

The following technical report from Jorge Emmanuel, Chief Technical Expert from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF) Global Healthcare Waste Project, and Babacar Ndoye, Waste Management and Infection Control Expert from Ministry of Health, Senegal, explains the situation on the ground in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, as part of their mission to install autoclaves to provide safer and more sustainable healthcare waste management.

It shows the environmental and other risks in Ebola Treatment Units where lack of alternatives options has forced workers to burn and bury infectious waste. It provides a detailed account and photos of the equipment and procedures in place, at the start of the mission to, and valuable data relevant issues ranging from from wastewater treatment and locally made alcohol hand rubs to the the susceptibility of Ebola virus to sunlight.

Last but by no means least, it serves to remind us all of the bravery of the people who have fought the outbreak and the enormous efforts that will still be required to completely stop the outbreak and rebuild the healthcare systems even after the subject has slipped out of the headlines.

Sharps waste on the grounds of hospitals treating Ebola patients in Liberia (left), Guinea (middle), and Sierra Leone (right)

 

Single-use sharps containers reused with no decontamination; note lack of cleanliness and physical integrity of containers

March 10, 2015Global

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GGHH Webinar Series | Internationally Recognized Architect, Robin Guenther, to Present Buildings Guidance Document

On March 11th, Robin Guenther, leading international expert in sustainable healthcare design, Senior Advisor to Health Care Without Harm and the "#1 Most Influential Designer in Healthcare" according to Healthcare Design magazine will be giving two webinars on Green Design and Construction of Hospitals, together experts from South Africa, Taiwan and Australia, as part of GGHH's Global Webinar Series.

Launched in January 2015, GGHH's Global Webinar Series follows the 10 sustainability goals set out in the GGHH Agenda. These one hour webinars provide opportunities for members from around the globe to come together to learn and share experiences. 

When?

GGHH Launches Buildings Guidance Document for Members

Robin is also the lead author of the soon to debut Buildings Guidance Document for GGHH members. This comprehensive resource details how health care leaders can make the changes needed to reduce their energy consumption, use environmentally sustainable and healthy building products and minimize the environmental impacts of their facilities.

GGHH will release this document in conjunction with the webinars on March 11th in GGHH Connect, a powerful multilingual Internet platform that allows members from around the world to meet, teach, and learn from each other’s experiences. Download a sample to learn more.

Table of Contents

Learn more about GGHH

March 5, 2015Global

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HCWH and HECAF Present on Sustainability in Health Care in Nepal

Plymouth, UK | Accompanied by Ruth Stringer, HCWH International Science and Policy Coordinator, Mahesh Nakarmi - founder and director of the HCWH's Strategic Partner in Nepal - the Health Care Foundation Nepal (HECAF) participated and presented in a meeting on Sustainability and Health Research Group at the University of Plymouth. Nakarmi was invited to share his pioneering multi-dimensional approach to health care waste management in Kathmandu.

During his presentation Nakarmi described and illustrated HECAF's unique work in recycling, reusing and/or reselling up to 80% of all waste generated by the hospitals HECAF serves. This work is today recognised by the World Health Organisation as a model of appropriate technology for other developing countries to follow.

Nakarmi also discussed the unique problems of health care waste in Nepal, and HECAF's commitment to non-burn technology, given that the Kathmandu Valley suffers exceedingly high levels of air pollution.

This presentation was also accompanied by Russ Pariseau, who has captured the work of Mr Nakarmi in a number of documentary films (click here to see the video or see below).

About HECAF's work

HECAF uses autoclaves to disinfect plastics contaminated with blood and bodily fluids before recycling. Anaerobic digestion is at the heart of their programme for processing organic wastes, including some pathological waste. The resultant methane is used for cooking and, in some cases, to operate electricity generators. Nepal suffers enormously from extended power cuts - reaching 18 hours per day in the dry season.

HECAF also uses earthworms to recycle infected bandages and surgical dressings. Expired pharmaceuticals are dealt with in environmentally safe ways and the product packaging is also recycled. 2 million out-of-date condoms were turned into automobile tyres.

HECAF has even turned some non-recyclable waste into revenue producing physical therapy tools in the Burn Unit of Kathmandu’s Bir Hospital.

Nakarmi and HECAF have converted most Kathmandu hospitals to mercury free thermometers and sphygmomanometers. While the world attempts to come to an agreement about what to do with mercury, HECAF has created the only storage facility in Nepal for disused products containing mercury.

Video | Health Care Waste Management at Bir Hospital

Video by Russ Pariseau.

Health Care Waste Mamgement at Bir Hospital Kathmandu 3 min from 

 

March 3, 2015Global

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