Health implications of hospital waste management practices in Gujrat, Pakistan
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The present research was conducted to investigate the health implications of hospital waste management practices in Gujrat, Pakistan. For this purpose two government and two private hospitals were randomly selected in the city of Gujrat. To find out the health implications, Sheikh Sukha waste dumping site was selected. Personal visits were made to hospitals and waste disposal site to record the actual conditions. Qualitative method was used in this research for data collection. For the collection of data twenty interviews were conducted (5 in each hospital) from hospital staff. To investigate impacts of waste on health of people living around waste dumping sites, for this purpose researcher visited Sheikh Sukha waste dumping site and a separate question guide was prepared. Twenty respondents (10 male and 10 females) were selected and preference was given to those who have some kind of infectious diseases. Findings of this research illustrated that the overall implementation level of HWM rules 2005 in terms of collection, segregation, storage, disposal and transportation in private hospitals were much better than government hospitals due to their strict management, regular monitoring, proper documentation, future planning, regular cleaning, less waste production and their tough competition among themselves to achieve their financial targets. This research also revealed TMA, collects all waste from hospitals. Get mixed with municipal waste then, finally disposed of at Sheikh Sukha waste dumping site. However due to lack of proper waste management system some chronic diseases such as headache, fever, skin and eyes allergies, Hepatitis C, asthma, throat and lungs infections are very common especially among those people who are living around Sheikh Sukha waste dumping site because of open waste dumping and burning. Therefore, based on these findings, there is an urgent need to create awareness about hospital waste management practices. Hospital administration should strictly focus on health education and intensive training. In addition, the government of health should strictly enforce penalties against the offenders. This research also suggests that rather than open burning and mixing of infectious waste with municipal waste "Incineration" practices should be adopted.