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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination on Thursday directed the health ministry to conduct an immediate and independent inquiry into the sale of medical waste, including gloves and syringes, by employees of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

The committee meeting, which was held here under the chairmanship of MNA Khalid Hussain Magsi to discuss the matter of sale of used medical materials in the market termed it a criminal act and directed the ministry to take stern action against all those involved.

The committee recommended that the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) should take strict action against culprits and report back to the committee in the next meeting.

The committee members said that worldwide, incinerators are used to burn such waste having primary and secondary chambers to dispose of hospital waste and also process the smoke produced as a result.

The officials informed the panel that the PIMS had hired a vendor to incinerate medical waste on the hospital premises was found involved in the sale of infectious material such as discarded syringes and blood bags, in the federal capital in cahoots with hospital employees.

The officials said that the medical waste material can be recycled and reused in making toys, shoes, and other products, but the authorities are gravely concerned that the used syringes and glucose bags can be reused by people, which would result in HIV/Aids, cancer, and hepatitis outbreak.

The Health Ministry officials said that soon after the emergence of the scam, PIMS Executive Director (ED) established a three-member fact-finding committee which will bring the findings within a week.

Furthermore, the PIMs management had written a letter to the Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP), informing that the PIMS employees were also involved in the scam and that an FIR be registered to arrest the culprits involved in the illegal act.

The management has hired a company that gets around Rs 1.4 million per month to collect the hospital waste and incinerate it on the premises to avert recycling of the infectious waste. However, the waste was being sold at a local depot in Sector G-11.

The committee recommended that the Ministry of National Health Services submit a para wise comprehensive report on the matter duly referred by the speaker National Assembly regarding discrimination by the Pharmacy Council of Pakistan in the next meeting. Therefore, the standing committee constituted a four-member Sub-Committee on following composition and Terms of Reference (ToRs).

The Sub-Committee will compose of: Nisar Ahmed Cheema as convener, Ramesh Lal member, Dr Darshan and Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.

Terms of Reference: “To consider the matter referred by the honorable speaker regarding discrimination by the Pharmacy Council of Pakistan moved by Rana Shamim Ahmad Khan, MNA.”

The sub-committee shall submit its report within 30 days. The committee also recommended to revisit the prospects of an increase in seats in Public Sector Medical Institutions for encouraging students to pursue their medical studies within the country instead of going abroad specially in central Asian states.

The committee recommended that president Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) must ensure his presence in the next meeting to brief the committee about the issues relating to the MD CAT admissions and criteria to fill vacated seats on merit by the students who does not avail their admissions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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