Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Health care waste management in Nigeria

Chinedum Okezie, postgraduate researcher

My research Investigates Health care waste management systems in Abuja Nigeria, using the World Health Organization’s best practice guidance as a catalyst for sustainable development. This research aims to examine the factors that might contribute to public health risks, their pathways and identify strategies to reduce the health implications in the case study area, to critically analyse current policies and practices for managing health care waste and develop a governance framework for improved practice in Abuja, Nigeria in the management of healthcare waste. Health care wastes (HCW) are ‘by-products of health care that include sharp non-sharps, blood, body parts, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and radioactive materials’ (WHO, 2011).

According to WHO (2011) HCW is divided into two, namely the healthcare general waste which is 75% of healthcare waste, this includes plastic packaging, paper and food waste etc; and the healthcare risk waste which is 25% of HCW. These two types of health care waste should be separated properly to avoid any form of contamination, the whole health care wastes are considered infectious as a precautionary measure. HCW like sharps produced in lesser quantities are highly infectious. When poorly managed they expose waste scavengers, waste handlers, health care workers and the community at large to infections. An important threat is contaminated needles and syringes which may be scavenged from open dump sites and waste areas and re-used (Ogbonna, 2011). A fact sheet published by WHO (2011) in developing countries stated that injections with contaminated syringes caused 21 million hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections (32% of all new infections), 21 million hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections (40% of all new infections), and 260 000 HIV infections (5% of all new infections).