Health-Care Waste Practices in Selected Health-Care Facilities in Maseru
Although constituting a relatively small proportion of waste matter, the waste produced during medical treatment and routine dispensing of medical care is potentially the most infectious and environmentally hazardous. Health-Care Facilities (HCF) are, therefore, duty-bound to effectively manage the waste that they produce in order to avert environmental pollution and risks to people’s health. This paper reports on the findings of a recent study of current medical or Health- Care Waste (HCW) management practices in four purposively selected Health-Care Facilities (HCFs) in the district of Maseru, focusing on generation, segregation, treatment and disposal practices. These management practices are reported from a social science perspective, with no pretensions to expert medical or biological knowledge of the issues raised. The primary purpose of the paper is to raise public awareness and sensitivity to this serious but generally neglected environmental and public health issue. Evidence is adduced in the paper to show that the HCW management practices in the four HCFs are unhygienic and dangerously unsafe and that the HCW from these HCFs is an environmental and public health hazard. Most disturbingly, perhaps, is that Lesotho has neither a HCW management policy nor guidelines, and there are no indications that such policy will be in place in the foreseeable future.