It is a well-known fact that every facet of healthcare results in the production of biomedical waste, which in turn poses health and environmental hazards. Due to the hazardous nature of the waste, it needs to be handled, segregated, collected, stored, transported and disposed off safely. Although measures have been taken by some healthcare establishments to manage biomedical wastes, the situation is far from satisfaction and it is very discouraging that many of the newer hospitals and healthcare establishments are still being set up or commissioned without properly tested waste management plans or practices.

There is a growing awareness regarding the hazards caused by the hitherto careless handling of waste from HCEs amongst doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff, yet there is a great need for training at these levels and also at the levels of the ayahs, ward boys / girls, and cleaners of the HCEs who are constantly exposed to the risks of contracting one or another type of infectious disease.

Healthcare waste, whether generated in hospitals, clinics or homes, has some amount of potential infectivity and if it is not segregated, stored or disposed off in a safe manner can cause immense harm to not only the hospital staff or health care managers but can put the entire community to risk. Therefore, it becomes imperative to develop, devise and implement a safe waste management strategy to segregate, disinfect and dispose the waste and communicate the methods of implementing this strategy for the safety of the public and the environment in general.

Healthcare waste does not only include biomedical waste but also chemically, radioactively, cytotoxically hazardous waste besides general waste such as paper, packaging and food waste which need different types of segregation, collection, storage, treatment and disposal. Sharps, including needles, scalpels, blades, other sharp metal items and broken glass are hard substances capable of piercing or cutting may need safe handling, disinfection, autoclaving and recycling or burial. Paper from the offices or other stationery items and packaging of sterile items from the stores can be given off to the recycling agents for other types of safe uses. However, since both infectious and non-infectious wastes come from within healthcare establishments (HCEs), unless they are segregated at source, handled and stored separately by different personnel, even the most innocuous waste can turn hazardous. Thus Hospital Waste Management is an integral part of the Hospital Infection Control Programme. Many infections are spread by inadequate or no treatment, inappropriate storage, transportation and disposal of different kinds of hospital waste such as sharps, infected or blood soaked cotton and dressings, pathological waste, infected plastics etc.

  1. Healthcare Establishment Waste Management and Education Programme (HEWMEP)
  2. HEWMEP Gulbarga and CHAMP
  3. Project Data Sheet
  4. Champ 2009 Presentation
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