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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 297-300

Awareness, practice of safety measures and the handling of medical wastes at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria

Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
S O Samuel
Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The study is prompted by the significant public health impact of continuing rise in the emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.and to determine the awareness and practice of safety measures in the handling of medical wastes among health workers in a teaching hospital. MATERIALS , SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Stratified sampling technique was used to choose 325 respondents from different professional groups and cadres of health workers and these included medical doctors, nurses/midwives, laboratory workers, ward attendants, porters, cleaners and laundry workers at the University of Ilorin teaching hospital between January and June 2008. Simple random sampling method by balloting was used to select subjects in each group. Data was collected using structured, self administered questionnaires which considered all the variables under study. Data collected were analyzed using Epi-Info computer software program. RESULTS: Three hundred and twenty five (325) questionnaires were administered, out of which 320 were returned giving a response rate of 98.5%. Respondents are nurses 128 (40.0%), doctors 107 (33.4%) and pharmacists 10 (3.1%). Years of work experience ranged from 3 to 27 years with respondents who had working experience between 11 to 15 years constituting over one quarter, 88 (27.5%) while those below 5 years were 8 (2.5'%). Two hundred and ninety eight (93.0%) respondents knew about hospital wastes while 193 (60.3%) only knew about general wastes. Majority of the health workers have appreciable knowledge of collection, minimization and personal risks associated with hospital wastes 299 (93.4%), 302 (94.4%) and 311 (97.2%) respectively. The most common routine safety practice is putting on protective clothing. CONCLUSION: This study revealed a high level of awareness of hospital wastes among health workers; however, the practice of standard safety measures was low. It is recommended that hospital wastes disposal and management policy be formulated and appropriate committee constituted to monitor compliance with the policy and create awareness among health workers on this policy and its implementation through training and re-training.

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