Journal of Environment and Health Science
Medical Waste Management and Disposal Practices of Health Facilities in Kumbo East and Kumbo West Health Districts
- 1Department of Health Economics, Policy and Management, Catholic University of Cameroon-Bamenda, Cameroon
- 2Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Buea, Cameroon
- 3Pubilic Health Biotechnology, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon
- 4Ministry of Secondary Education, Cameroon
- aDid the study design, collected data, analyzed data, interpreted results, and made drafts of the manuscript.
- #Supervised the work, did a critical academic review of all the manuscripts, and approved submission of the final draft.
Wilfred Fon Mbacham, Department of Health Economics, Policy and Management Catholic University of Cameroon-Bamenda, Tel: 237677579180; E-mail: email@example.com
Mbacham, W.F., et al. Medical Waste Management and Disposal Practices of Health Facilities in Kumbo East and Kumbo West Health Districts. (2016) J Environ Health Sci 2(2): 133- 141.
© 2016 Mbacham, W.F. This is an Open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
KeywordsMedical waste; Medical waste management; Medical waste disposal; Kumbo
Background: The provision of healthcare generates waste which can be detrimental to health and the environment. Management of healthcare waste is still a challenge in developing countries as practices, capacities and policies on waste disposal are grossly inadequate and require intensification. With the growing trend of biomedical services in Kumbo Cameroon, we investigated the medical waste management practices in this area, to generate data that could guide policy in planning for an effective and sustainable waste management program.
Method: A qualitative cross sectional study was conducted in 30 of the 52 health facilities in study area. Participating facilities were selected by convenience sampling and personnel by random sampling. Data was collected using questionnaires, interviews and direct field observations. The Chi Square test was used together with percentages, and results analyzed using SPSS V 17.0. P-values < 0.05 were considered significant.
Results: Participants aware of the existence of a national policy guide on medical waste management were mostly administrators (66.7%). Only 2 (6.6%) health facilities had a copy of this document. None of the participating facilities kept records of their medical waste management practices. All participants were aware of the health risk of healthcare waste. Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) varied among participants and was highest with Employed Waste Handlers (EWH) (100%) and laboratory technicians (69%). Gloves were the most commonly used PPE. Most of the EWH (55.6%) used examination gloves which was inappropriate. Not all participants segregated or disinfected waste. Waste bins were not color-coded and all facilities had appropriate safety boxes for sharps. In 86.7% of health facilities, waste disposal was by burning in pits located within 400 m away from the facility. Most of these pits were not protected from scavengers. Only 4 facilities had incinerators and all did not meet the required standards. Even after segregation at the point of generation, wastes were mixed at the point of final disposal.
Conclusion: Waste management practices in study site did not meet standard practices. There is an urgent need for proper medical waste management in Kumbo East and Kumbo West to minimize threats to human health and the environment. Regular supervision and enforcement of policy on medical waste management is paramount.