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PIGG’S PEAK – Flies and worms have infested part of the Pigg’s Peak Government Hospital due to human tissue, fluids and used equipment that has not been disposed of.

Patients, staff and members of the public, have been exposed to a serious health hazard at the hospital due to the undisposed used items. Biohazardous and medical waste is disposed of next to the government hospital’s incinerator, which is reportedly non-functional. An incinerator is an apparatus for burning waste material, especially industrial waste, at high temperatures until it is reduced to ash. Sources within the hospital informed this publication that the incinerator had been non-functional for months now, after it was allegedly burnt.


Consequently, the hospital is currently without an apparatus to destroy or burn hazardous bio-waste. The sources also revealed that following the damage to the incinerator, arrangements were made by government and hospital management to have the bio-waste transported from Pigg’s Peak to Mkhuzweni Health Centre to be destroyed there. However, according to sources, this has also become a challenge in that Mkhuzweni Health Centre was now without diesel used in the burning of the bio-waste in the incinerator. As a result, sources revealed that it was pointless transporting the bio-waste to Mkhuzweni Health Centre.

The sources said the hospital staff, patients and public were now exposed to danger of coming into contact with the bio-waste.The insiders revealed that the bio-waste included human tissue disposed of from the surgery or operating room. These are now producing a foul smell. During a visit to the hospital, heaps and heaps of bio-waste in plastic bags were found stored near the non-functional incinerator. Though they had been sealed in medical refuse bags, the area had a foul smell and was infested with flies and tiny worms.

Further, exposure to extreme weather conditions and other factors resulted in the deterioration of the waste.The bio-waste is not in a sealed enclosure, and anyone within the health institution can easily have access to it as the gate to the incinerator is usually left wide open. The hospital’s Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Dr Brian Munro, said he was attending a conference in the Republic of China (Taiwan) when he was reached for comment.


He further disclosed that management of the incinerator was under the administrator. Efforts to get comment from the hospital management proved unsuccessful as the SMO was identified as the only person authorised to speak on matters relating to the hospital. Director of Health Services Dr Velephi Okello said she was on leave and asked that the Deputy Director, Rejoice Nkambule, be consulted. Nkambule said she needed to consult with the relevant department before responding to questions.

The senior health official had been asked if the matter had been reported and what was government doing to address it. According to Wikipedia, biomedical waste or hospital waste is any kind of waste containing infectious (or potentially infectious) materials generated during the treatment of humans or animals as well as during research involving biologics. It may also include waste associated with the generation of biomedical waste that visually appears to be of medical or laboratory origin (e.g. packaging, unused bandages, infusion kits etc.), as well research laboratory waste containing biomolecules or organisms that are mainly restricted from environmental release. Discarded sharps are considered biomedical waste whether they are contaminated or not, due to the possibility of being contaminated with blood and their propensity to cause injury when not properly contained and disposed of. 


Biomedical waste may be solid or liquid. Examples of infectious waste include discarded blood, sharps, unwanted microbiological cultures and stocks, identifiable body parts (including those as a result of amputation), other human or animal tissue, used bandages and dressings, discarded gloves, other medical supplies that may have been in contact with blood and body fluids, and laboratory waste.Waste sharps include potentially contaminated used (and unused discarded) needles, scalpels, lancets and other devices capable of penetrating skin.

Disposal of this waste is an environmental concern, as many medical wastes are classified as infectious or biohazardous and could potentially lead to the spread of infectious disease. The most common danger for humans is the infection which also affects other living organisms in the region.
Daily exposure to the wastes (landfills) leads to accumulation of harmful substances or microbes in the person’s body.