Health, Disaster Risk Management, Solid Waste Management (SWM)
June 1, 2003
The World Bank
Health care waste management (HCWM) is a process to help ensure proper hospital hygiene and safety of health care workers and communities. It includes planning and procurement, construction, staff training and behavior, proper use of tools, machines and pharmaceuticals, proper disposal methods inside and outside the hospital, and evaluation. Its many dimensions require a broader focus than the traditional health specialist or engineering point of view. The need for proper HCWM has been gaining recognition slowly. It can: help control nosocomial diseases (hospital acquired infections), complementing the protective effect of proper hand washing; reduce community exposure to multi-drug resistant bacteria; prevent illegal repackaging and resale of contaminated needles; and easily and cost-effectively address health care worker safety issues, including reducing risk of needle sticks.