Hazardous care

Published: Friday 15 April 1994

-- Health care in the Pink City is extracting its kilo of flesh. Ironically, Jaipur's citizens are being increasingly exposed to health hazards from infectious waste from the city's health care facilities, according to a recent survey conducted by the Rajasthan Voluntary Health Association.

"While it is not my intention to create panic in the public mind or to scare away tourists, the callous indifference towards the potential health hazards cannot be allowed," says S G Kabra of the Sawai Man Singh Medical College, who supervised the survey.

The survey estimated that 30,000 placentas, 6,000 aborted foetuses, 1,500 still-born foetuses, 1,600 uteruses, huge quantities of blood-soaked pads, gauzes and sponges are disposed of every year. All this waste is dumped and transported through the city in open vehicles. A major factor adding to the hazard is lack of incinerators in the city hospitals, says Kabra.

Kabra points out that although the hospitals fall under the preview of the Factories Act, they are allowed a lot of leeway in waste disposal. He maintains that the periodic endemic outbreaks of diseases like viral hepatitis, typhoid, gastroenteritis, tuberculosis and meningitis should not be surprising, given the present filthy circumstances

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