Biosafety practices and biomedical hazards among the support staff of Kenyatta national hospital, Mbagathi district hospital and Kiambu district hospital in Kenya
Biomedical hazards, also known as infectious hazards or medical hazards are defined as hazards generated during the diagnosis, testing, treatment, research or production of biological products for humans or animals. This study aimed at determining biosafety practices and biomedical hazards among the support staff from Kenyatta National Hospital, Mbagathi District Hospital and Kiambu District Hospital. A descriptive study design was employed for this study to sample the support staff working in the three hospitals. The respondents were strictly the hospital support staff in cleaning, mortuary and handling of health care waste. Probability sampling method was used to select out the 400 respondents. Structured questionnaire was used for data collection which was analyzed using SPSS. Blood and blood products, tissues, sharps and used materials by patients were identified as the major biohazards to hospital support staff. Approximately 33 (63.5%) hospital support staff from Mbagathi District hospital, 35 (67.3%) from Kiambu District hospital and 195 (66.7%) from Kenyatta hospital agreed that they handled blood, sharps and other materials used by patients in the hospitals. The Pearson Chi‐Square Tests χ2 (8) =15.546; P=0.046 implied that the Handling blood, sharp or any other materials used by patients in hospital had association with the hospital the respondents came from. In conclusion the study has demonstrated that hospital support staff needs to be trained on biosafety issues especially medical waste management because their practices are below standards. Hospitals used in the study are facing many challenges because this sector is almost ignored in terms of safety of support staff, segregation, collection, transport, treatment and final disposal. The study recommends that all staff and waste handlers in each hospital should agree on responsibilities towards biosafety policy in Kenya.
Key words: Biomedical hazards, biological products, biosafety, waste management.