A Descriptive Study Identifying Gaps in the Effective Implementation of Mercury-containing Device Phase-out in Selected DOH-retained Hospitals
Background and Objective. After the 2008 phase-out of mercury-containing medical devices, the implementation status was evaluated by this study to know the program effectiveness in removing mercury exposure risks in health facilities.
Methods. A cross-sectional survey was done to determine the amount of mercury stored in ten selected Department of Health (DOH)-retained hospitals. Key informant interviews were also performed with Pollution Control Officers to determine their program implementation status, strengths, and areas for improvement.
Results and Discussion. All hospitals initiated the mercury minimization program but none has fully implemented it. The total amount recorded is 213.5 kg for mercury-containing materials. A discrepancy of 31.4% exists compared to the initial 2008 inventory of 312.7 kg. The main strength identified by the key informants was the one-time collection of mercury devices in hospitals. Hospitals need administrative and logistic support to properly implement mercury phase-out, particularly on monitoring of temporary storage. Disposal protocols should also be created to fully eliminate mercury exposure in the hospitals.