To control and reduce nosocomial infections inside hospitals, health centers, clinics, and health posts and to ensure that the environment outside is well protected, health care waste (HCW) must be safely managed. Health care waste management (HCWM) should be part of the overall management system of a health care facility (HF) and reflect the quality of the services it provides.
Waste produced in the course of health care activities carries a high potential for infection and injury, and its poor management poses health risks, direct and indirect, not only to health institutions’ patients, medical staff, caretakers, waste handlers, and support staff but also to the community and the environment at large. The magnitude and extent of the potential harm highlights the need for efficient health care waste management systems and for sensitization to their importance among health care managers, providers, and their support staffs, in both private and public institutions.
Both the rate at which HCW is generated and its volume continue to increase significantly, along with the number of types and categories of waste that require proper handling and disposal. A significant proportion of HCW is hazardous and must be packaged, transferred, and disposed of properly to protect both those handling it and the environment.