Some 56% of the hospitals in Vietnam have yet to complete their medical waste treatment systems, said Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Department of Health Environmental Management under the Ministry of Health.
The recent diseases like hand-foot-mouse and H5N1-type influenza A are all concerned with environmental pollution and medical waste treatment, said Nga at the press briefing on Monday in preparation for the seminar named “Environment and health protection” to be held in Hanoi on April 12.
There are currently some 13,600 healthcare facilities nationwide, including 1,300 hospitals. At present, the daily amount of medical wastewater is about 150,000 cubic meters, which will double to 300,000 cubic meters in 2015.
In addition, local hospitals discharge 350-400 tons of solid waste every day, consisting of 40 tons of hazardous medical waste that need to be burnt in incinerators. Therefore, the demand for medical garbage treatment in Vietnam is very huge and is becoming an urgent need.
Catherine Galtier at APB France Environment Vietnam said expenditure is the primary difficulty of completing medical waste treatment systems at local hospitals. The hospitals have yet to include the expenses for waste treatment in their budget estimates and neglect this issue during their operations.
Regarding the investment in medical waste treatment, Nga said the capital can be sourced from credit funds, the State budget and others. Lately, the Government has allowed the health ministry to borrow some US$150 million for investment in waste treatment, in which US$140 million will be used for building waste treatment systems at the hospitals and US$10 million for developing policies and observatory systems.
One of the greatest challenges for environment and health protection is that about 50% of the households in rural areas lacks sanitary latrines. Even the already-constructed latrines have yet to meet the technological standards.
Related agencies and French experts hoped the situation would be remedied when the environment improvement technology that has been successfully applied in France is introduced in Vietnam at the upcoming seminar to be organized by the French Embassy in Vietnam and French International Trade Agency (Ubifrance).
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