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The REMONDIS Medison employees are the REMONDIS Group’s experts for delivering clean and safe treatment solutions for all types of problematic waste. This also includes the professional disposal of medical and infectious waste. There is a high demand for such specialist knowledge all around the world – as could be seen in 2014 following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
REMONDIS Medison employees wearing special protective clothing during the Ebola rescue exercise at Frankfurt Airport
Last year’s epidemic was the largest outbreak of this life-threatening virus infection that the world had ever seen. For the first time, patients outside Africa were affected by the Ebola virus. Faced with such a dramatic situation, the prestigious Robert Koch Institute in Berlin decided to set up a special working group of experts in October 2014. Their goal: to develop a safe and uniform system across the whole of the country to collect and dispose of the highly infectious Ebola waste.
One of REMONDIS Medison’s main fields of business is delivering professional waste management solutions for handling medical waste from clinics, university hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, laboratories and pharmacies.
This group was made up of specialists from leading medical institutions, federal authorities, associations and the worlds of industry, science and research as well as a number of experts from REMONDIS Medison. They were able to provide valuable information on how to store, transport and dispose of medical waste.
In principle, all waste generated in Germany as a result of treating someone suspected of having the Ebola virus disease must be inactivated on site at source. If this is not possible, then this dangerous material must be transported to a hazardous waste incineration plant licensed to handle such substances. Transport of this waste to the appropriate incineration facility is regulated by the dangerous goods act and international transport laws.
Using this information as their starting point, the team of experts at the Robert Koch Institute participated in a number of workshops to draw up practicable solutions for safely treating the highly infectious Ebola waste. One of the important outcomes of these meetings was the signing of a multilateral agreement. This regulates how such highly infectious material must be packed and transported. The focal point of this agreement is a special triple packaging solution consisting of a primary container, secondary packaging and plastic outer packaging shaped like a drum.
The outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in western Africa has led to new standards being set for managing and disposing of medical waste. REMONDIS has exceptional knowledge of this area.
In addition to these regulations, REMONDIS Medison developed a comprehensive waste management and logistics concept for customers who have to deal with Ebola-contaminated waste. The concept acts as a set of guidelines describing how such dangerous materials should be handled. All information about the material streams are continuously recorded, analysed and documented to create absolute transparency in all areas.
As potential emergency situations have to be well prepared in advance, a team of REMONDIS Medison staff also took part in a major rescue exercise. This exercise simulated the arrival of an Ebola patient at Frankfurt Airport. All individual steps were practised in as realistic conditions as possible – from the landing of the plane, to moving the patient, all the way through to disposing of the waste. All stages of this successful exercise were performed under the strictest of safety standards. Should the need actually arise, then there is an Ebola rescue plane ready and waiting to bring the patient to Germany. The Airbus 340-300 is part of this rescue plan and would be deployed by the Foreign Office with doctors from the Robert Koch Institute. The plane, called Villingen-Schwenningen, had previously been used as a passenger aircraft and has been completely refitted for this purpose. It is equipped with three isolation cells and enables the patients to be safely flown in as well as for them to receive on-board treatment.
REMONDIS’ SafetyTruck ensures the special packaging is transported safely