Assessment of knowledge and practices of healthcare waste management among health workers in a general hospital in southern Nigeria


  • Ekanem A. M. Department of Community Health, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
  • Ijezie A. E.
  • Undie M. U.
  • Etuk J. J.
  • David A. E.
  • Peter O. I.
  • Paul U. M.
  • Agwu C. E.


Knowledge, Practice, Healthcare waste, Health worker


Background: Poor management of health care waste exposes healthcare workers, waste handlers and the community to infections, toxicity and injuries. The objective of this study was to determine the level of knowledge and practices of HCW management among health workers in a general hospital in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among 158 health workers. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire, checklist for a facility walk-through assessment and a key informant interview and analysed using STATA statistical software version10.0
Results: The majority (88.6%) of the respondents had good level of knowledge of HCW management and its effect on health. More than half (58.9%) of the respondents had good HCW management practices. Predictors of poor knowledge of HCW management were lack of training on HCW management (OR 0.24, 95%CI 0.06-0.95, P=0.04) and not seeing instructive posters on health care waste management (OR 0.16, 95%CI 0.04-0.64, P=0.01). Being a nurse (OR 0.15, 95%CI 0.04-0.59, P=0.007) and not seeing an instructive HCW management poster (OR 0.26, 95%CI 0.12-0.57, P=0.001) predicted poor practice of HCW management. All wards had sharps containers and waste bins which were not of the standard colour coding. Thirty percent of the waste bins had lids.
Conclusion: Training and seeing of HCW management posters predicted knowledge and practice. Hence periodic training, supervision and display of instructive posters is vital in ensuring good knowledge and practice of safe health care waste management in health facilities to reduce the risk of infections and injuries to workers and the general public.

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