Disease Risk Warning on World Health Day

DENPASAR ~ Bali’s health chief warned this week that inadequate water and waste disposal facilities on the island were threatening the risk of disease.

Dr Nyoman Sutedja gave the warning in a message released to mark World Health Day (November 12).

He said water supplies are falling 15 percent below demand, only 74 percent of family homes had toilets, and improper waste disposal by medical practitioners is damaging the environment and risking the spread of disease.

Availability of clean water and toilets (Bali’s availability on both counts is above the national average) and housing conditions were measures of a healthy environment, he said.

“Diseases arising from an unhealthy environment range from diarrhoea, respiratory infections and dengue fever, to avian flu,” he said.

Dr Sutedja said hospitals and other health facilities must minimise their damage to the environment through the disposal of medical waste.

Hospital construction licensing conditions required efficient waste management systems, he said.

Sanglah Hospital CEO Lanang Rudiartha said Sanglah provided facilities for the disposal of solid medical waste from Denpasar’s 23 public hospitals.

“Sanglah has an incinerator with the capacity to accept medical waste from the other hospitals,” he said.

However, he said, some private health centres and independent doctors and midwives were dumping waste, including used syringes, into the environment.

“It is certainly dangerous because the needles have the potential to transmit diseases including tetanus, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS,” he said.

World Health Day has been celebrated since 1964.

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