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Safe injections and waste management at a Sub-Saharan regional hospital: a quantitative descriptive study

Elisabeth Darj
Josefine Nilsson
Andrea Barnabas Pembe
Miriam Urasa


Objective:  To assess the knowledge and practice of safe injections and health care waste management among healthcare workers at a regional hospital in Northern Tanzania. 

Design: A cross sectional descriptive study with additional observations was conducted to assess the knowledge and practice of safe injections and waste management among responsible health workers.

Setting: A regional hospital in Northern Tanzania.

Methods: A quantitative descriptive study was conducted through a self-administered questionnaire with additional observations of the incinerator, injections, waste practices, and the availability of medical supplies. Data was analysed in SPSS descriptive statistics and chi-square tests were performed.

Results: 223 of 305 (73%) healthcare workers from different cadres were included in the study. The majority of healthcare workers had adequate knowledge and practice of safe injections, but inadequate knowledge about waste management. The majority of the staff reported knowledge of HIV as a risk factor, however, had less knowledge about other blood borne infections. Guidelines and posters on post exposure prophylaxes and waste management were present at the hospital, however, the incinerator had no fence or temperature gauge.

Conclusion: Healthcare workers reported good knowledge and practice of injections, and high knowledge of HIV transmission routes. However, it is concluded that the hospital is in need of a well functioning incinerator and healthcare workers require sufficient medical supplies. There was a need for continual training about health care waste management and avoidance of blood borne pathogens that may transmit through unsafe injections or poor health care waste management.