Assessment of Medical Waste Management at Private Dental Clinics in the Gaza Strip: Status and Policy Implication
Rola Samir Qeshta
رولا سمير قشطة
Medical wastes are generated in hospitals, clinics and places where diagnosis and treatment are conducted. The management of these wastes is an issue of great concern and importance in view of potential public health risks associated with such wastes. This study aims to ascertain the status of medical waste management in private dental clinics in Gaza Governorates, an important segment of dental health care providers. This study is a quantitative, descriptive, analytical, cross-sectional one. The target population was the dental staff working at private dental clinics in the Gaza Governorates. The researcher used a self-constructed, self-administered questionnaire. In total, 276 respondents completed the questionnaire with a response rate of 98.5%. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Program (SPSS) has been used for data analysis including cross tabulation, percentages, mean, t test and ANOVA. Finding revealed that 61.2% of participants were males and 42.8% were aged 30 to less than 40 years. The majority of respondents (88%) were dentists and holding bachelor degree (85.5%). Of respondents, 61% have less than 10 years of experience, and only 1.8% were having more than 30 years of experience. The majority of respondents (89.5%) not received any training about dental waste management. With regard to policy and guidelines, more than two thirds of respondents (87.3%) were aware of presence of waste management policy and guidelines, but the majority of them (88.8%) informed unavailability of manual guidelines for dental waste management in their clinics. Concerning management of dental waste, the majority of respondents (79.3%) reported absence of supervision on waste management process, and almost all (94.6%) reported the availability of personal protective equipment in their clinics. Nearly half of the participants (44.6%) evaluated their dealing with hazardous waste in their clinics as excellent and 65.2% of the participants have licensed their clinics. Most of participants (90.6%) were personally familiar with dental wastes, also the majority of them (87.6%) had correct knowledge about the definition of dental waste. (98.5%) of respondents knew that they should be wearing personnel protective equipment when handling a dental product. Regarding practice, the majority of the respondents (86%) reported performing separation of the dental waste before disposal, and 88.4 of them reported that they disposed the dental waste after separation. Moreover, the majority of respondents (84.0%) reported disposing cotton, gauze and other items contaminated with blood by thrown it into the general garbage and only 8.3% of them used correct methods. Nearly one third of participants are not satisfied about current dental waste management. Approximately (80%) of the participants had positive attitudes toward the importance of existence of a manual guidelines for dental waste management. The study concluded that majority of dental staff workers working in private clinics are knowledgeable about dental waste management. The practices towards dental waste require further improvement. There is a need for training and monitoring programs accompanied by supervision and learning.