Projects in Health Care
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Safely and Effectively Handling Medical Waste
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Original autoclave unit at the National Kidney Center

Not only disposing of health care waste but RECYCLING much of it was HECAF 360's original and pioneering contribution to improving Nepal's environment as well as making hospitals and the communities they are located in safer.

 

HECAF 360 has since developed sophisticated assessment tools which they now deploy to make careful diagnostic evaluations of waste content before any project is designed and implemented

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 3 minute 40 sec video

Health Care Waste Management at Bir Hospital from 2010

Managing Pathological Waste

If not properly disposed of, infectious organic waste – which includes kitchen waste and pathological waste such as placentas – can attract flies, rats and feral animals, all capable of spreading disease.  It smells terrible as it decomposes, and generates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

 

In many countries, there are laws that force medical facilities to incinerate placentas and other waste, despite the pollution this process causes. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Getting rid of infectious organic waste in hospitals through low-tech, sustainable biodigesters not only captures methane gas and turns it into low-cost biogas, but it also reduces air pollution and its impact on climate change.

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Early bio-digestor trials at Bir Hospital

Pharmaceutical Waste Management
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Separating recyclable from non-recyclable components 

Pharmaceutical waste often exists "under the radar".

 

Since it doesn't have the ugly visibility of "bloody bandages"  – nor the obvious threat of potential infection and/or injury – pharmaceutical waste is often just thought of as "normal" waste, which it isn't.

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 Refugee Camp Waste Crisis
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Photo: WHO Bangladesh/Irene Gavieiro Agud

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Rohingya Refugees in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh

The Cox's Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh has been home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled Myanmar since August 2017. 

 

Living conditions in the densely crowded camp have been horrendous, with human and medical waste discarded everywhere. The World Health Organization Office for Bangladesh called on Health Care Without Harm and HECAF 360 to help manage the dangerous accumulation of health care waste.

Chemicals: Eliminating Mercury Containing Devices

In 2008 HECAF assumed a leadership role in removing mercury based thermometers and sphygmomanometers from routine hospital use in Kathmandu. Starting with Patan Hospital in Lalitpur and continuing on soon after with Bir Hospital, HECAF (now HECAF 360) initiated an awareness and advocacy program on the dangers of mercury contamination from accidental spills. The drive was introduced simultaneously to senior management, professional personnel and to housekeeping staff. 

Once the life threatening potential of mercury contamination was widely recognised, hospital administrators were quick to replace mercury based measuring equipment with non-toxic equivalents. 

 

The video above ­– produced early-on in the campaign –  played an important role in the awareness and advocacy push.