Dental Hazardous Waste Management at the Governmental Dental Clinics in the Gaza Strip
Ruba Atef Alagha
ربا عاطف عثمان الأغا
Dental diagnostic and treatment modalities require various chemicals, biomedical and radiological materials such as silver amalgam and needles. Some of these materials pose a risk of causing harm to individuals exposed to them. The study aimed to assess the status of dental hazardous waste management at the governmental dental clinics in the Gaza Strip. The study utilized descriptive, analytical, cross- sectional design. The census of the study consisted of 90 participants (58 male and 32 female) with a response rate of 92%. The researcher used a self-administered questionnaire developed by the researcher. The questionnaire was submitted to a group of experts to evaluate face and content validity. The researcher conducted a pilot study on 20 participants selected randomly, and Cronbach alpha coefficient was 0.880. The results also indicated that management of infectious dental waste was above moderate (71.52%), management of non-infectious dental wastes was moderate (59.54%), biomedical waste management was above moderate (70.22%), and the overall management of hazardous dental wastes was moderate (67.10%). The results reflected that the study participants had high knowledge (86.2%),and above moderate practice of hazardous dental waste management (83.7%).There were statistically significant differences in knowledge about hazardous dental waste management related to age (P= 0.003) and years of experience (P= 0.001). There were statistically significant differences in practice of hazardous dental waste management related to governorate (P= 0.034), qualification (P= 0.047) and years of experience (0.009), while there is no significant difference between practice and specialty (P=0.152). The results also indicated that most of the personal protective equipment is available in the clinics. Common challenges that face dentists and nurses during disposal of the hazardous dental wastes included shortage of the plastic bags for dental waste management, shortage of the colored bins, and shortage of sterilization solutions. The study concludes that management of hazardous dental wastes was moderate. There was high knowledge and above moderate practice of hazardous dental waste management. The study recommended the need to increase awareness about the potential risks of dental wastes, improve safety measures in the work environment to protect employees from hazards of dental wastes.