Medical waste management at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital

  • J.O Odigie
  • I.M Siminialayi

Abstract

Background: The generation and handling of wastes from medically related procedures poses a potential health hazard to health workers and non health workers alike, and this has far reaching consequences for the public in areas where such wastes are disposed of carelessly.

Aim: To investigate the medical waste management procedure at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) and assess the knowledge of, attitudes to and practice of waste management by staff of the Hospital.

Methods: A stratified random sampling method was used for this descriptive cross sectional study, using a structured questionnaire that was pre-tested, as the instrument of data collection. The respondents were directly involved with medical waste generation, handling and disposal. Data collected was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences for windows software, version 12.0.

Results: There was a high level of awareness among UPTH health workers of the different

waste types and their hazardous nature. A majority of the respondents showed favourable attitudes towards the importance of guidelines on medical waste management and training in, and use of personal protective equipment. Also the staff avoided certain aspects of their jobs they considered risky. The study also showed that the procedure of medical wastes management i.e. generation, segregation, storage, treatment, and final disposal at the UPTH was inadequate.

Conclusion: The knowledge, attitude, and practice of the UPTH members of staff regarding management of medical wastes appeared satisfactory. The procedure of wastes management at the hospital appeared inadequate. We recommend that health education on medical wastes management be aggressively pursued as a policy.

 

Keywords: Medical waste management, UPTH, Personal protective equipment, Generator responsibilities

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