1.1 Background of the study
Health care activities can generate
different kinds of hazardous wastes. Mismanagement of these wastes can
result in environmental and occupational health risks. Developing
countries are resource-constrained when it comes to safe management of
hospital wastes. This study summarizes the main issues faced in hospital
waste management in developing countries. A review of the existing
literature suggests that regulations and legislations focusing on
hospital waste management are recent accomplishments in many of these
countries. Implementation of these rules varies from one hospital to
another. Moreover, wide variations exist in waste generation rates
within as well as across these countries. This is mainly attributable to
a lack of an agreement on the definitions and the methodology among the
researchers to measure such wastes. Furthermore, hospitals in these
countries suffer from poor waste segregation, collection, storage,
transportation and disposal practices, which can lead to occupational
and environmental risks. Knowledge and awareness regarding proper waste
management remain low in the absence of training for hospital staff.
Moreover, hospital sanitary workers, and scavengers, operate without the
provision of safety equipment or immunization. Unsegregated waste is
illegally recycled, leading to further safety risks. Overall, hospital
waste management in developing countries faces several challenges.
Sustainable waste management practices can go a long way in reducing the
harmful effects of hospital wastes.
Hospital waste management has become a
critical issue as it poses potential health risks and damage to the
environment. It is an issue that is taking central place in the national
health policies of many countries. In developing countries, hospital
wastes have not received sufficient attention. This is because, very
often, health issues compete with other sectors of the economy for the
very limited resources available. In many countries, hazardous and
medical wastes are still handled and disposed together with domestic
wastes, posing a great health risk to municipal workers, the public and
the environment. Hospital waste must be separated from municipal waste,
but in many parts of Africa it tends to be collected along with the rest
of the waste stream (Kgathi and Bolanee, 2001; Taru and Kuvarega,
2005). Most hazardous and toxic wastes are placed on landfills with few
safeguards to protect nearby inhabitants and water sources from
contamination. This is usually the case in developing nations (Hardoy,
1.2 Statement of the problem
There is a serious concern regarding
hospital waste which has not been adequately managed especially in
primary health care centers (PATHS, 2005). In most cases there is
inadequate training of primary health care workers on hospital waste
management practices and nonexistent segregation of hospital waste and
risky disposal system.The dumping sites are open and uncontrolled and
located in the midst of residential areas. In addition, the waste
handling behavior of the people itself is risky. They dispose off their
waste as cheaply and as quickly as possible without recourse to the
hygienic means of doing it (Malumfashi, Mukhtar, & Adamu, 2011).
Therefore, the need arise to find and Train hospital staffs in Gombe
state on the best and safest way to dispose hospital wastes.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The objectives of the study include:
To find the best way to dispose hospital wastes in Gombe.
To find a way to segregate hospital wastes into segments.
To find the best way to transport wastes from hospitals to dump sites.
To find the best way to manage dump sites.
1.4 Research Questions
What are hospital wastes?
What is the best way to dispose hospital wastes?
What are the existing procedures involved in treatment and storage of hospital waste in Gombe?
What are the various methods of final hospital waste disposal?
How is hospital waste segregated into various components?
How is waste collected and transported to waste disposal sites?
How can good hospital waste management be made effective in Gombe state?
1.5 Significance of the study
The importance of this study is to find
the best way to dispose/ manage hospital wastes and to create the
necessary awareness to hospital staffs in Gombe, regarding the health
risk of hospital waste. It will also recommend to Government and policy
makers on the need to employ the necessary manpower and strategies on
waste collection, storage, treatment and disposal, which will be
beneficial to the community. And also, to advise health providers on the
need to ensure proper collection, storage, transportation, treatment
and final disposal of hospital waste.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study focuses on the management of hospital wastes in Gombe.
1.7 Limitation of the study
This study is limited to hospitals in Gombe.
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