Knowledge and practices of health care workers on medical waste management in Mityana Town Council, Mubende District
Nanfuka Naava, Rehma
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Background: Few data are available on MWM in healthcare centres in Uganda yet medical waste is thought to be a sure vector for transmission of HIV, hepatitis and several other Nosocomial infections. Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge and practices of healthcare workers concerning the management of healthcare wastes in Mityana Town Council. Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-section study with an observational component. It was done in Mityana Town Council and a sample of 127 healthcare workers was used. A standardized pretested questionnaire and an observational checklist were used to collect the data. Data was analysed with SPSS and Epi-info Version 6 computer software packages. Results: The majority of respondents knew about medical waste management (85.7%). The cited sources of knowledge included training schools, workshops and health facilities. For immediate disposal of waste, plastic waste bins were used by 94.7% of health care workers although they were neither colour coded nor had bin liners. Sixty percent (60%) of respondents reported emptying of waste bins when they were ¾ full. Sixty four point seven percent (64.7%) of respondents separated infectious from noninfectious waste. Sharps containers were used in 71.4% of health facilities. Burning of waste was the most used method of terminal disposal of waste. Only the hospital had an incinerator. Records on medical waste management were not found in any of the health facilities. Use of protectives (42.2%) and good use of leak proof and puncture proof waste containers (33.2%) were the most observed ways of protection against hazards of healthcare waste. Need for more training was suggested by 41.5% of respondents for improvement of HCWM in health centres. Conclusion: Whereas a majority of healthcare workers had adequate knowledge regarding medical waste management, it was not reflected in their practices. The lack of segregation of infectious wastes, an absence of necessary records, lack of proper waste treatment and disposal facilities, insufficient supervision of personnel and insufficient personal protective equipments were the main findings. Recommendations: For a rapid improvement of existing conditions, performing extensive research for the assessment of the present situation in the hospitals of this country, compilation of rules and establishment of standards along with effective training for the personnel is recommended.
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