African Journal of AIDS Research

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Clinical waste management in the context of the Kanye community home-based care programme, Botswana

Simon M Kang'ethe


This study examines clinical waste disposal and handling in the context of a community home-based care (CHBC) programme in Kanye, southern Botswana. This qualitative study involved 10 focus group discussions with a total of 82 HIV/AIDS primary caregivers in Kanye, one-to-one interviews with the five nurses supervising the programme, and participant observation. Numerous aspects of clinical or healthcare waste management were found to be hazardous and challenging to the home-based caregivers in the Kanye CHBC programme, namely: lack of any clear policies for clinical waste management; unhygienic waste handling and disposal by home-based caregivers, including burning and burying the healthcare wastes, and the absence of pre-treatment methods; inadequate transportation facilities to ferry the waste to clinics and then to appropriate disposal sites; stigma and discrimination associated with the physical removal of clinical waste from homes or clinics; poor storage of the healthcare waste at clinics; lack of incinerators for burning clinical waste; and a high risk of contagion to individuals and the environment at all stages of managing the clinical waste.

Keywords: environmental risks; government policy; health risks; HIV/AIDS; home-based caregivers; infection; hygiene; waste handling and disposal

African Journal of AIDS Research 2008, 7(2): 187–194

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