TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), Felix Obuah, has said the task of effective management of healthcare wastes in the State is a collective responsibility and not to be left for government alone.
Obuah noted that the collective participation and synergy with RIWAMA would fast-track the achievement of set objectives of the agency and engender a dirt-free, clean and healthy environment.
Speaking while declaring open a day workshop on “Effective Healthcare Waste Management” at the RIWAMA premises, Km 6, Ikwerre Road, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Obuah said the calibre of resource persons engaged in the workshop showed the seriousness of the agency to rejig the waste management delivery system in the State.
He said: “We are believing that at the end of this all-important workshop, our people will begin to think and do things in a new way, rather than thinking and doing things in the usual parochial ways they are used to. I am very convinced that those who listened to the lectures would have a rethink, knowing that whatever thing you put will come back to you”.
The RIWAMA boss reiterated that it was not the responsibility of government to pay for the management of wastes generated by citizens.
“For the sake of protecting her people, government has gone out of the way to shoulder the responsibility of managing wastes. It is not the global best practice to consider waste management as utility”, he said.
Obuah posited that the industrial principle of ‘polluter pays’ is premised on the ground that waste is owned by the generator and that citizens owe it to themselves to be responsible and law abiding, adding, “They need to change and begin to exercise duty of care in managing waste products”.
In his lead presentation, the National Consultant, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria, Dr. Edwin Isotu Ede, warned on the implications of improper disposal of healthcare waste products.
Edeh, whose presentation was done via a Zoom social media platform, cited the dreaded HIV/AIDS disease that could be contracted through healthcare wastes products that are not properly disposed.
Emphasizing that good health is a function of a good waste management system, he warned that healthcare management should not be politicized.
Edeh commended the Sole Administrator, RIWAMA, for his courage and wisdom to organize the training which according to him, was timely and germane for a healthier and cleaner Rivers State.
Other facilitators at the workshop included Dr. Ransome Lilly West: Legal Burdens, Healthcare Waste Management, Extant Laws and legal implications for Generators; Prof. Charles Tobin-West: Public Health Concerns, Healthcare Waste Management in the context of infection, Prevention and Control; Pastor Sanitarian Walson Paminola: Environmental Health Perspective – Healthcare Waste Management and Hospital Sanitation.