GOVERNMENT has expressed concern over the dumping of biological waste including vials of fresh blood in the Mt Hampden residential area by unidentified health institutions in Harare.
By Phyllis Mbanje
Health and Child Care secretary Gerald Gwinji yesterday said the ministry had already launched its own investigations with a view to bring the culprits to book.
Last week, NewsDay reported that an unknown company had dumped blood products, pathological waste, cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals, contaminated animal carcasses and bedding, sharps, and biotechnology by-product effluents in an open space close to the residential area.
As a result, some children in Mt Hampden foraged through the waste, collected the broken vials and smeared the blood on their lips, oblivious of the health hazards associated with it.
“Indeed, this is disturbing and we will investigate the possible source,” Gwinji said.
According to community members, two weeks ago, an unknown white truck dumped the waste at a pit, which is just a couple of metres from homesteads.
“All medical waste is supposed to be incinerated at approved facilities. Our public institutions have their own institutional facilities while most private institutions in Harare use approved private incineration facilities or public facilities, for example, Harare City as per individual institution arrangements,” Gwinji said.
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When NewsDay visited the site, blood vials were strewn all over, now with coagulated blood.
Discarded gloves, syringes and intravenous packs littered the place, which for a week or so, had become a favourite playing ground for the local children. Also found at the scene were documents from certain laboratories and hospitals (names withheld) and even confidential patient information with names and addresses.
One of the patient forms seen by this publication indicated that the patient had or was tested for typhoid.
Fears were rampant within the community that their children might have been exposed to chronic infections like HIV and Aids.