Uncollected medical waste piles up at Otjiwarongo State Hospital due to a lack of transport to the nearby towns' hospitals with an incinerator.

The hospital has been struggling with disposing of medical waste since the incinerator caught fire last year November.

The cause of the fire is unknown and is still being investigated by the Ministry of Works and Transport.

The hospital then opted to transport medical waste to Outjo, Okakarara and Grootfontein hospitals for disposing of.

According to some hospital staff, the vehicle which is used to transport the waste has allegedly broken down and the hospital is waiting on the Health Ministry to send another vehicle.

Otjozondjupa Health Director Gebhardo Timotheus says the report he received from the hospital on the medical waste situation shows everything is under control.

"The report I got says that they are having a room where they are keeping medical waste that is secured so that nobody would have access to the medical waste unless they are allowed to do so and then all medical waste generated in the hospital is being transported on time to either Okakarara, Outjo or Grootfontein for disposal".

However, when our team visited the hospital, uncollected red disposal bags with medical waste could be spotted outside the storeroom.

This according to a hospital staff, is because the storeroom is full, as the waste has not been collected.

IV drips could also be spotted dumped outside next to the burnt incinerator. 

Timotheus says they are looking at either repairing or replacing the burnt incinerator, which he says would be costly.

"The estimate that was made to repair that incinerator was over N$400,000 we have reported this one to our head office in Windhoek and we have also submitted the quotations and they are in the process of finding a way how this incinerator can be replaced or refurbished."

He says it is best if the hospital gets a new incinerator, as the room where the current one is kept is small.

They, however, have to conduct an environmental impact assessment, which Timotheus said is a process that's still to start this year.



Eveline Paulus