CURRENT STATUS ON THE HEALTHCARE WASTE MANAGEMENT OF SELECTED HOSPITALS IN THE PHILIPPINES: AN ASSESSMENT
Healthcare waste management has been more critical during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare waste (HCW) not only poses serious environmental and human health risks, but it can also cause death. The problem of how to manage HCW is extremely important to prevent widespread disease transmission and environmental degradation. A descriptive survey study assessing the implementation of the healthcare waste management on storage, pre-treatment, collection and disposal of all private and public hospitals in the Municipality of Camiling, Tarlac, Philippines was determined. A mixed method research was adopted by conducting semi-structured interviews with the Head of the Waste Management Division, Pollution Control Officers, Sanitary Inspector, and other employees involved in waste disposal in private and public hospitals, clinics, and rural health units. A survey was used as a quantitative tool for data collection from respondents involved in healthcare waste management. Data were gathered using questionnaires and interviews with respondents and key informants, respectively. Data were analyzed and interpreted using frequency count and percentage. Findings revealed that 80% of the respondents used a color coding scheme while 20% used labeling as means of waste segregation. It also showed that 60% of both private and public hospitals has conformed to the waste management standards set by the Department of Health (DOH), Republic Act 9003, and World Health Organization 2009. Moreover, a clinic has conformed only to the DOH standards in terms of segregation, pre-treatment, storage, and disposal of wastes generated. However, the rural healthcare unit used labeling in segregating its wastes instead of a color coding scheme. In addition, segregation of waste was done only in its T and B DOTS and Laboratory. Further, hospital wastes were mixed with municipal wastes and disposed of in a dumpsite. Treated hazardous and infectious wastes were disposed of using burial method. The system of handling, storage, treatment, and disposal of the hazardous wastes of the healthcare units was different from each other.
Hospital waste, waste segregation, healthcare waste management, solid and hazardous waste, waste disposal and treatment