23.2  Public health importance of healthcare waste

Healthcare waste is varied in type and the amount produced is increasing each year. Moreover, if there is little or no segregation of non-hazardous and hazardous waste, it is inevitable that the general waste component will become contaminated and must then be regarded as hazardous.

Everyone in the community is potentially at risk from exposure to healthcare waste, including people within the healthcare establishment and those who may be exposed to it as a result of poor management of the waste.

  • List all the people who could be at risk from healthcare waste produced at a village Health Post.

  • Your answer will depend on where your Health Post is and on the local conditions, but your list might include yourself as the Health Extension Practitioner; your patients and people accompanying them; anyone who takes the waste away for disposal; anyone who lives or works close to the disposal place; children who may play in the area and pick up contaminated items.

23.1  Sources and classification of healthcare waste

23.2.1  Hazards from infectious waste