Hospital Waste Management as a Potential Hazard in Selected Primary Healthcare Centres in Zaria, Nigeria
The operations of health facilities generate waste; a common characteristic of hospitals and Primary Healthcare centres. However, improper handling of hospital waste constitutes potential risks to the environment and human health. Unfortunately, hospital waste management is not yet carried out with a satisfactory level of safety in many parts of the globe, especially in the underdeveloped world. This study was carried out with the aim of assessing hospital waste management practices among selected Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in Zaria, Nigeria. A cross sectional descriptive study was carried out between October 2012 and March, 2013 using staff of the PHCs and an interviewer-administered questionnaire, checklist and participant observations. Majority of the staff of the PHCs were nurses (37%) and the knowledge score of all the staff was 5 out of 10 (50%). About 73% had training on hospital waste management 31% had reported injury by sharps. Also, 66% use protective hand gloves while doing their work. Wheel barrow was the commonest method of transporting waste and open burning was the final method of waste disposal by the PHCs. There is a need for safer means of waste disposal among the medical facilities visited. It was, therefore, recommended among others that funds should be made available to the PHCs. This is to ensure the acquisition of all facilities needed in hospital waste management and disposal. There should be training and re-training of health staff on current hospital waste management to meet global best practices.