THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved a new National Healthcare Waste Management policy for Nigeria, and to ensure its effective implementation, a national steering committee would be set up to implement the policy.
Similarly, FEC ratified the enactment of an Act to amend the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Act, CAP W4, Laws of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 to give effect to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in Nigeria.
Also, the National Fire Safety Code for nationwide implementation was approved. The code prescribes minimum standards for the establishment of a reasonable level of fire safety, property protection from hazards resulting from fire, explosion and hazardous materials.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, alongside his Education, Health and Environment counterparts, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu and Hajia Hadiza Mailafiya, said the approvals followed extensive deliberations of the memoranda to those effect.
For instance, Rufa’i said the newly-approved amendment gave legal teeth to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in Nigeria, adding that under the new Act, examination malpractice will fetch five-year jail term for offenders or N200,000 fine or both.
Maku said the approval of the new National Fire Code followed a memo by the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, and “the code had become an urgent necessity in view of the rapid urbanisation and industrialization that require safety inputs in the construction industry and town planning, as well as industrial chemical processes.
“The National Fire Safety Code stipulates safety requirements in building estates, markets and similar structures, which must be met before approval of building development plans are granted by relevant authorities.”
The Ministers of Environment and Health jointly presented a memo to seek council’s approval for the adoption of the National Healthcare Management policy. Nigeria is a signatory to the Basel Convention on control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Disposal, the domestication of which is in progress and which necessitated the need for a national health waste policy, guideline and strategic plan.
Nigeria at present does not have a coordinated healthcare waste management system, especially in the area of segregation, collection, storage, treatment and disposal.
The Federal Government had in the past made some efforts in the form of provision of high temperature incinerators at tertiary health facilities, which form part of the healthcare policy and strategic plan.
Justifying the decision, the Health and Environment ministers said “medical institutions generate a lot of waste which, if not properly handled, could pose danger to those handling them or even the immediate environment.”