An assessment of the effectiveness of medical waste management strategies in general hospitals, health center III's, health center II's and private clinics in Hoima district, Uganda
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Medical waste management is a serious global concern. In developing countries, health care waste is still handled and disposed off as domestic waste which is a threat to waste workers, public and environment. The objectives of this study were to; identify the types of medical wastes produced and their volumes, identify the waste handling strategies and assess the challenges facing medical waste management in Hoima district, Uganda. This was a cross sectional study conducted in eight health care facilities that included: two private clinics; Alpha medical clinic and Doctors clinic, two health Centre II’s; Mbaraara and Kasomoro, two health Centre III’s; Bujumbura and Karongo and general hospitals; Kabalega and Hoima referral. Questionnaires, observation guide, check list and interview guide were the tools used to obtain data from the field. Data obtained from the field using questioners was exported to SPSS for analysis. According to the results obtained, the major categories of wastes produced were general wastes, infectious, chemical, and pathological and sharps (needles and surgical blades). In all the eight health care facilities, general wastes had the highest quantity of the total wastes produced per week (811kg); this was attributed to poor waste segregation. Hoima referral produced the highest quantity of wastes (620 kg/week) and private clinics Alpha and Doctors clinic produced the least amount of wastes (86 kg/week and 89 kg/week) respectively. The variation in the quantity of wastes produced depended on the services provided by the health care facility and the size of the population it serves. The waste handling techniques included, incineration being the most used, frequent collection, segregation at the source, provision of storage but there was no disposal of wastes at the sanitary land fill. The risks associated with waste management included; injuries, diseases like hepatitis A, water contamination and soil contamination. The challenges facing medical waste management were limited government support, high costs, limited awareness and in appropriate technology. Therefore, training workers about waste management and allocating more resources for medical waste manages in the national budget by the government was recommended.