5.5 Health facilities
There may be different types of local health facilities in your area, such as Health Posts, private and public clinics and health centres. The benefit of health facilities is well understood. However, the risks associated with health facilities are not always well understood by patients and the general population. Health facilities generate infectious wastes, needles and other sharps that are potentially harmful. The possibility of acquiring infections is another concern. The sanitation provision that you have learned about healthful housing in Study Session 4 is also applicable in these institutions. In particular, you should be aware of the following requirements for the Health Post you are working in:
- Healthcare waste must be properly segregated, collected and disposed of. Needles, other sharps, contaminated linen, gauze, cotton and similar items must be disposed of by burning. The ash and unburned items must be properly handled and buried in a designated pit.
- Liquid and semi-liquid wastes (placenta, blood, vomit, secretions) must be disposed of in a placenta pit.
- Wastehandling facilities such as latrines, an incinerator and a placenta pit must be available, depending on the type of health services provided. Latrines should be clean, comfortable and pleasant to use.
- Water supply and plumbing (water tank, handwashing facilities) are very important for good personal hygiene practice among healthworkers and patients.
You will learn more about healthcare waste management in Study Session 23.