Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry, Azhar Hyat, Shaukat Mahmood Qureshi, Syed Abdul Ahad Najmi.
Health hazards of hospital waste to sanitary workers at Combined Military Hospital, Rawalpindi.
Pak Armed Forces Med J Jan ;54(2):253-8.

This study was aimed at identifying the health hazards posed by hospital wastes to the sanitary workers of Combined Military Hospital, Rawalpindi and to make recommendations for the improvement of their health status. A total number of 93 workers are employed in sanitary and housekeeping activities. Among them are 66 male and 10 female sanitary workers and 17 Ayas (female housekeepers). A cross sectional study of all the above-mentioned workers was conducted using a structured open and closed ended questionnaire. Data was compiled and analyzed using SPSS ver 10.0 software. This study revealed that 46% of workers were illiterate and 49% had attended primary school. Mean age was 31.8 ± 8.4 years. None of the sanitary workers received any training in handling of hospital wastes. They were not routinely inspected for identification of their health problems. They were not provided with protective equipment and were never vaccinated against hepatitis B. Although some form of segregation of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes was practiced in CMH, Rawalpindi, majority (56%) of them collected and carried the two kinds of wastes in the same vehicle. 48% of them reported of sustaining one or more injuries at work. Frequently reported injuries were: cuts (47%), pricks (34%), falls (15%) and burns (4%). 26% of them reported of contracting skin diseases from wastes, while 12% caught ENT disorders, 9 % gastrointestinal disorders, 6 % respiratory diseases and 8 % hepatitis. It is concluded from this study that sanitary workers of CMH, Rwp are unaware of the risks and hazards associated with handling of hospital wastes. They are exposed to biological, physical and toxic substances routinely. But they lacked the required knowledge, skills and protections to safeguard their health. There is a need to improve the training and education of all hospital housekeeping staff in the principles of management of hospital waste.

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