Status and Challenges of Hazardous Waste Managementamong Handlers at Thika Level 5 Hospital, Thika Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya
Towett, Anne Chepngeno
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Hazardous wastes are wastes that pose danger both to the public and the environment. Of the total waste generated in health care facilities, approximately 20% is hazardous. These wastes have both immediate and long term health effects including kidney problems, asthma, cancers and other diseases. Hazardous Waste Management (HWM) is a challenge both in the developed world and developing countries where wastes generated are not segregated at the point of generation. Hazardous waste requires special attention throughout all its stages of management. Proper management can significantly reduce the cost of treatment of wastes and diseases due to these wastes. The research aimed at assessing status and challenges of Hazardous Waste Management among handlers in Thika level 5 hospital. The study was cross sectional descriptive and was carried out in Thika level 5 hospital during the month of March, 2014. Data collection instruments included self administered questionnaires, key informant interviews and observation check lists. The sample size was 195 and was selected proportionate to number of hazardous waste handlers in each category. Pretesting of research tools was tested at Ruiru Sub-County hospital. Simple random sampling was used to select study participants. Data collected was managed using SPSS version 20. Results of the study were summarized using percentages, tables and charts. Chi square was used to test for association between variables at p<0.05 significance level. A majority of the respondents had been trained on Hazardous Waste Management and 41.3% of the trained received training more than five years ago. The average amount of waste generated within the hospital was 642kg/day. Almost half (46.0%) of the waste was hazardous waste. There was significant statistical relationship between work experience and use of personal protective equipments (p=0.012), period of training and use of Personal Protective Equipments (p=0.006) and period of training and awareness of color codes (p=0.011). Other factors that were found to have significant relationships with Hazardous Waste Management were awareness of color codes and provider of Personal Protective Equipments. Qualitative analysis revealed that indiscriminate disposal of waste was attributed to inadequate waste bins and lack of clear labeling of bins. It is recommended that the hospital should provide continuous in-service trainings to its healthcare workers in order to equip them with up-to-date information on hazardous waste management. The hospital should ensure provision of adequate waste disposal bins in order to avoid indiscriminate waste disposal.