|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 58-59
World Health Organization appeals to international stakeholders to streamline the mechanism for the management of health-care waste
Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Web Publication||9-May-2016|
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World Health Organization appeals to international stakeholders to streamline the mechanism for the management of health-care waste. Sifa Med J 2016;3:58-9
|How to cite this URL:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World Health Organization appeals to international stakeholders to streamline the mechanism for the management of health-care waste. Sifa Med J [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Aug 7];3:58-9. Available from: http://www.imjsu.org/text.asp?2016/3/2/58/182006
It is a reality that health-care activities can protect health and save millions of lives, but what about the waste that they generate?  Inappropriate management of the health-care waste can be a source of immense risk to the patients, health professionals, society, and the environment.  In fact, out of the total waste produced by health-care activities (from hospitals/nursing homes/maternity homes, laboratories, etc.), close to 15% is hazardous, which can be infectious or even radioactive. ,
Even though, the average amount of hazardous waste per bed per day in low-income nations (0.2 kg) is less than high-income nations (0.5 kg), nevertheless, nonsegregation of the health-care waste into hazardous or nonhazardous wastes significantly augments the overall quantity of hazardous waste. , The hazards associated with health-care waste can be multiple, ranging from an acquisition of nosocomial infections, spread of drug-resistant microorganisms, radiation burns, sharp injuries [hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections], poisoning, and air/water/soil pollution. ,
Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem and its negative impact on different sections of people and its massive role in environmental degradation, the safe and sustainable disposal of health-care waste, is a public health responsibility for all the stakeholders. , Although, the problem can be effectively addressed, still the stakeholders have failed to achieve major improvements owing to the presence of multiple challenges such as poor awareness about the health hazards attributed to health-care waste, inadequate sensitization of personnel involved in waste management, absence of waste management systems or appropriate legislations, insufficient monetary and human resources support, and nonpriority of the issue by the policymakers. ,,,
It is of great importance to understand that the problem of disease burden associated with health-care waste can be sorted out with the right investment of resources and commitment from stakeholders.  A comprehensive strategy comprising of interventions such as developing a waste management system, assigning specific responsibilities to different cadres of workers, allocating resources in an evidence-based manner, enhancing awareness about the risks associated with health-care waste and safe disposal measures, and adopting safe and environment-friendly options to safeguard the health interests of people involved in collecting, handling, storing, transporting, treating, or disposing of the health-care wastes is needed. ,,,,
In addition, other measures such as preferring methods as autoclaving or microwaving over incineration, mechanical removal of needles, systems for safe transport and storage, recycling sterilized plastic and metal parts, and the proper maintenance of equipments, can be of great significance as well. , Outsourcing the disposal of health-care waste to an appropriate agency will serve the purpose in most of the settings of developing nations. These agencies can even assist in practically training the health care personnel right from waste generation to collection within the hospital premises. Further, the World Health Organization has additionally developed different guidelines to assist in the appropriate management of the health-care wastes in different settings. 
To conclude, ensuring safe disposal of health-care wastes on a global scale is a long-term process that can be achieved only by small improvements locally. However, continuous commitment from the policymakers is the need of the hour for sustainable development.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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