THE need for professional disposal of aborted fetuses and other human tissue waste by hospitals and clinics cannot be overemphasised.
This is because problems of off-colour disposal of such materials are equivalent to dangerous and infected material that can produce a host of health challenges in communities.
Elsewhere there have been reports of such constituents being consumed by dogs after they were carelessly left alone.
In some cases, these incinerators have been dangerously located near homes where smelly and choking fumes have been allowed to enter premises at will.
Air contamination and environmental degradation in many cases have become the order of the day at many of our health facilities and concerned authorities, sadly, cannot be bothered.
Of course why should they be because after all it does not affect them and their families directly?
It would therefore not be far from the truth to presuppose that apposite disposal of such fetal tissues by health professionals in Zambia is somehow not extremely sensitive and is devoid of encyclopedic guidelines.
We think the current disposal levels of fetal tissues although could be sanctioned by regulation, are totally obnoxious.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already strongly warned that improper disposal of medical waste can cause the following diseases such as parasitic and lung infections, skin infections, HIV and Hepatitis B and C viruses, Candida and meningitis.
This obviously means that exposure to such hazardous waste can affect human health, children being more vulnerable to these pollutants because often times they will be found playing near them.
Disposing of waste also has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious complications and in the process may smell, or generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to the greenhouse effect.
This now brings us to the story of a nine-year daughter of Lusaka’s Chipata compound man Mr Kennedy Makukula who has contracted an unknown disease as a result of the pollution from a government incinerator built near her father’s house.
Mr Makukula, a landlord of a house next to an incinerator at Chipata Level One Hospital says his daughter Grace has been complaining of severe chest pains because of inhaling gas emissions from nearby hospital incinerator.
He says his daughter has been sick for a week now with chest pains which he suspects is as a result of the pollution from the incinerator.
The family settled on the plot long before the incinerator was constructed few years ago and despite making plea to the government through the Ministry of Health to be compensated so that the family relocated nothing tangle able has come out.
Mr Makukula has now appealed to President Edgar Lungu over the matter because it was now five years the ministry of health had promised to do something about his complaint.
He claims that the family was ‘dying slowly’ due to health hazard and air pollution from the incinerator which is three meters away from his house as well as the storage room where placentas are kept.
“We are dying slowly with my family due to health hazard and air pollution from the incinerator which is three meters away from my house as well as the storage room where they keep placentas. Just after the hospital mortuary.
“The smoke, smell and flies that come from the above mentioned are bad in that, we don’t breathe well.
“Your excellence, our lives are like in prison, I and my family have suffered injustice over this matter. Way back the blood from the placentas that was put beside the wall fence waiting to be burnt in the incinerator was entering my yard for three years through the crack of the wall fence. To our surprise, they put plaster and painting on the wall fence without considering our environment concerns,” he explained.
Mr Makukula said that government ensures there is health for all citizens but his family has been left behind.
Despite repeated pleas with the ministry of health, he says, these have fallen on deaf ears and he has now lost five tenants who could no longer stand the odour and overpowering smell from the incinerator.
Maybe government is waiting for Mr Makukula’s children to start dying for it to take clear-sighted action on the matter. Only time will tell.