RESIDENTS of Douglasdale in Bulawayo are up in arms against Throrngrove Referral Hospital, which they accuse of dumping health cards and used medical equipment in the suburb, posing a health hazard.
The hospital mainly treats contagious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and Aids. Douglasdale residents fear the medical equipment being dumped in their suburb could lead to an outbreak.
Residents claimed to have seen an ambulance dumping used needles, syringes and gloves in the area recently.
“We saw an ambulance making a U-turn near our house on Saturday and we thought that maybe they were lost,” Esther Ndlovu, a resident, said.
“We then later saw gloves full of blood, used injections, cards of dead patients with the logo of Thorngrove Hospital dumped near the bridge, which was very shocking.”
Ndlovu said they called other residents to witness what they described as callous behaviour by whoever was dumping the waste in the open.
Douglasdale residents’ association vice-chairperson Glen John said the hospital’s waste was a health hazard to the residents.
“We have children around and they could play with such things as syringes and the blood may be contaminated,” he said.
“We are shocked as residents because this is a city council hospital and the local authority has many dumping sites, where they do not pay.”
John said the refuse could contaminate the nearby water source, as some people and animals use that water.
“This has been really an issue of concern because we are in the rainy season and these things can be washed into the dam which is used by some people living at Jairos Jiri,” he said.
John urged the local authority to make sure that they advise their hospitals to either incinerate their garbage or dump it at their dumping sites.
When Southern Eye arrived at the scene, some of the waste had been burnt, while some blood-stained gloves were visible.
Residents said they were not aware who had burnt the hospital’s waste, as they woke up to an inferno at dawn yesterday.
They said they had forwarded the health cards, which survived the inferno to the local police.
Thorngrove Hospital declined to comment, referring Southern Eye to the Bulawayo City Council health services director Zanele Hwalima.
Hwalima said she had not yet received a report on the matter and would only investigate if the issue was raised.
“We have not received such a report yet and we expect the residents to file a complaint at our offices so that we investigate the matter,” she said.