By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Miniter of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, has acknowledged that although most hospitals have been revamped in the past few years, there are still a few still in need of urgent facelifts. Kamwi said some hospitals are still struggling in terms of disposing of used medical materials, due to obsolete incinerators, for medical waste. The minister yesterday told New Era that although most hospitals have been revamped together with the incinerators, at least 1/8th still call for attention. He said early this year that the ministry received huge financial support from the Finnish government. The funds, he added, will cater for the waste equipments to be purchased for hospitals. He could not disclose how many hospitals are in dire need of equipment, but stated that the whole exercise would eventually cost the ministry about N$300 million. The minister expressed concern about the slow pace at which the tender process is going, adding that this is delaying the purchase and replacement of equipment. He, however, gave the assurance that most hospitals will get new medical waste incinerators as soon as the tender process is finalized. About three months ago, a local artist, Laidlaw Peringanda, discovered discarded and used medical materials at Swakopmund’s municipal rubbish dump. The dumped materials included blood in glass tubes, bloody paper towels and sheets, used syringes, needles, surgical gloves and sharp instruments. Also found at the site were confidential medical documents bearing patients’ names, addresses, diagnoses and treatments. According to Kamwi, a committee was established to look into the matter but, upon analyzing the situation, it could not be clearly established where these items came from. Kamwi, nevertheless, condemned the practice, describing it as unacceptable. Meanwhile, Autogas, a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) firm, last week conducted demonstrations involving the L&J 101 medical waste incinerators. Managing Director of Autogas, Antonio Mendonca, told New Era that although his firm is currently concentrating on transforming vehicles from being petrol-operated to gas, it also strives towards contributing to the economic development of the country by way of the introduction of new technology. He said considering that there are still some hospitals that are not well equipped with facilities, such as the necessary medical waste incinerators, his company aims at assisting government to resolve such problems. The new product is easy to use, with simple loading and unloading instructions. Most importantly, it burns until 1100 degrees Celsius which, Mendonca says, is in line with World Health Organization requirements.
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