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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 58-59

World Health Organization appeals to international stakeholders to streamline the mechanism for the management of health-care waste


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication9-May-2016

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2148-7731.182006

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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 2018 Dec 16];3:58-9. Available from: http://www.imjsu.org/text.asp?2016/3/2/58/182006

Sir,

It is a reality that health-care activities can protect health and save millions of lives, but what about the waste that they generate? [1] Inappropriate management of the health-care waste can be a source of immense risk to the patients, health professionals, society, and the environment. [2] 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. [1],[3]

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. [1],[3] 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. [2],[3]

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. [2],[4] 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. [1],[4],[5],[6]

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. [2] 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. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

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. [1],[4] 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. [1]

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

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Health-care waste - Fact Sheet No. 253; 2015. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 8].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Doumtsop JG. Health care waste management: A multi speed development in the sub-Sahara African region. Pan Afr Med J 2014;17:305.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Maamari O, Brandam C, Lteif R, Salameh D. Health care waste generation rates and patterns: The case of Lebanon. Waste Manag 2015;43:550-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Toktobaev N, Emmanuel J, Djumalieva G, Kravtsov A, Schüth T. An innovative national health care waste management system in Kyrgyzstan. Waste Manag Res 2015;33:130-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Joshi SC, Diwan V, Tamhankar AJ, Joshi R, Shah H, Sharma M, et al. Staff perception on biomedical or health care waste management: A qualitative study in a rural tertiary care hospital in India. PLoS One 2015;10:e0128383.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Mosquera M, Andrés-Prado MJ, Rodríguez-Caravaca G, Latasa P, Mosquera ME. Evaluation of an education and training intervention to reduce health care waste in a tertiary hospital in Spain. Am J Infect Control 2014;42:894-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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