How to Safely Manage Medical Waste


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How to Safely Manage Medical Waste

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthcare activities generate non-hazardous wastes, which account for about 85% of all healthcare waste. Similarly, it generates hazardous waste that accounts for 15% of the total wastes. These hazardous wastes are toxic, infectious, or radioactive. Some of the wastes generated include used needles, dressings materials, syringes, diagnostic samples, body parts, radioactive materials, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and blood.

Poor management of waste can have adverse effects on workers, patients, waste handlers, the larger community, and the whole environment. They can significantly pollute the environment, cause infections and injuries. It is paramount for all medical wastes to be segregated immediately and handled for proper disposal. 

Each year approximately 16 billion injections are administered worldwide, and not all syringes and needles are appropriately disposed of after use. Health facilities produce tons of waste daily. For instance, in the United States, the health care sector generates over 7000 tons of medical waste daily. One patient may produce up to 25 pounds of waste.

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