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Mulife Jane, Khumar Amit and Hangulu Lydia
Purpose: Poorly managed infectious waste was the cause of majority of accidents and exposures to infectious waste in general hospitals in Zambia. The overall aim of this study was to appraise infectious waste management in the five general hospitals in Lusaka, Zambia.
The study objectives included to determine the knowledge, attitude and practices of infectious waste management of healthcare workers in general hospital in Lusaka. To appraise the policy compliance levels of healthcare facility towards infectious waste management and to identify factors that impede a proper infectious waste management.
Methodology: An explorative qualitative study was conducted to assess infectious waste management in in Lusaka, Zambia, nesting the perspectives of 21 healthcare workers drawn from five general hospitals in Lusaka district.
Findings: The results showed that, the state of infectious waste management in a cross-section of general hospitals in Zambia had fallen short of the World Health recommended standards. A myriad of contributing factors to poor waste management amplified included, lack of regular staff training, insufficient infectious waste management equipment and inadequate protective clothing for waste handling, stock out of color coded bin liners and bins was a common occurrence. Other key findings were, limited space for storing waste before disposal or transportation and the lack of awareness about segregation and waste management rules as well as the limited financial resource to procure standard infectious waste protection and disposal equipment.
Conclusion: Across the study area, the waste management recommendations, policies and guidelines on proper handling and management are still substantially undermined by a myriad interlinked factors such as inadequate knowledge levels, health workers attitude and practices towards infectious waste management, low policy compliance levels of healthcare facility towards infectious waste.