Mercury hygiene and biomedical waste management practices among dental health-care personnel in public hospitals in Lagos State, Nigeria
Background: Indiscriminate disposal of hospital wastes including mercury/amalgam wastes pose a serious threat to life and environment. There is a growing concern about biomedical waste (BMW) management among health care workers, however there are limited reports on BMW management by dental personnel in developing countries.
Objectives: This study investigated the level of knowledge of BMW, observance of proper mercury hygiene and BMW management practice among public dental personnel in Lagos State, Nigeria.
Methods: A cross-sectional study regarding BMW management across public hospitals in Lagos State, Nigeria was con- ducted following institutional ethics committee approval. A self-administered questionnaire was utilized to obtain data from different facilities selected by purposive and simple random sampling techniques as applicable. The questionnaires were dis- tributed among 437 respondents by convenience sampling. The resulting data were statistically tested using Chi-square and G-test with p-value < 0.05 indicating significant level.
Results: Amongst 437 respondents, majority were females (62.5%) and the highest proportion fell within the age range of 25–34 years (44.4%). Only 17.2% of the respondents had good knowledge of BMW management/legislation and 4.1% had good BMW practice. Less than half (49.4%) of respondents disposed mercury-contaminated materials inside the trash and majority (92.2%) did not observe proper mercury hygiene. Significantly better mercury hygiene practices were observed in secondary facilities (p=0.040).
Conclusion: A minor proportion of public dental personnel had good knowledge and practice of proper mercury hygiene and BMW management. This shows there is an urgent need for training of health personnel on proper BMW handling and disposal in developing countries like Nigeria.
Keywords: Biomedical waste management; mercury hygiene; dental personnel; Nigeria.
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