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Indian J Environ Health. 2002 Apr;44(2):124-37.

Hospital waste management and it's probable health effect: a lesson learned from Bangladesh.

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  • 1Urban Environmental Engineering Program, School of Environment, Resource and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, GPO Box 4, KlongLuang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand.


A study was conducted to evaluate the current status of hospital waste management (HWM) in Bangladesh. The aim is to recognize the health effect of the existing practice, to determine the awareness level of doctors and nurses about hospital waste, to identify the weaknesses, and to provide suggestions for improvement. Hospital staff, waste pickers, and local residents were interviewed while in depth field observation, which included sample collection and laboratory analysis was also conducted. Through this investigation, it has been quite evident that a satisfactory hospital waste management system in government hospitals and several private clinics is severely lacking. At present, Bangladesh has no rigorous laws or regulation, which are enforced in this area. The waste is generally dumped together in a public place such as the hospital surroundings, the roadside or City Corporation dustbin. Many doctors and nurses are not fully aware about what constitutes as medical waste. Health care workers have only a basic understanding of health care and do not perceive handling or disposal of medial waste as a hazardous work. Laboratory analysis shows existing contamination of infectious agents in the environment. Some staff members interviewed were suffering from various kinds of infectious diseases such as viral hepatitis B/C, typhoid, skin disease/allergy, diarrhea, dysentery, tuberculosis, and malaria. During field observation it was discovered that improved HWM systems have only recently been introduced in a small number of private hospitals and clinics, some of which could be used as references to formulate guidelines for reaching the optimal at the national level. The study indicates that there is a need to improve the handling and disposal methods of hospital waste in almost all the available medical facilities. There are a few NGOs that have started awareness building and training on waste management for selected hospital staff and NGO officials. Based on the analysis of the situation, several suggestions and recommendations have been made to aid in the development of a waste management system.

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