|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 187-188
Safe handling of healthcare waste: A priority public health concern
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Web Publication||28-Sep-2016|
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Safe handling of healthcare waste: A priority public health concern. J Med Soc 2016;30:187-8
Globally, sub-standard treatment of the healthcare waste has posed serious risk to the healthcare workers, patients, relatives, members of the community, and even the environment. , The current estimates clearly suggest that almost 15% of the waste generated from the health-related works is hazardous to humans and environment. , Further, regardless of the amount of waste generated per day in different settings, non-separation of the waste increases the overall quantity of the hazardous waste and eventually results in nosocomial infections, spread of drug-resistant microorganisms, sharp injuries, and environment pollution. ,,
Realizing the scope of the problem and its impact on different dimensions of health & environment, it is of immense importance that all stakeholders prioritize the concern of safe disposal of healthcare waste. , Even though, successful strategies and experience is available from different nations, nevertheless the stakeholders were not very much successful in improving the outcome due to the existence of different barriers such as limited knowledge about the hazards associated to healthcare waste, poor orientation of staffs concerned with waste handling, ineffective legal provisions to punish offenders, financial & resource constraints, and lack of prioritization amidst the other public health concerns. ,,,
The need of the hour is to ascertain the precise magnitude of the problem and then based on the available evidence formulate specific strategies in collaboration with different sectors to rectify the problem.  A comprehensive strategy comprising of interventions like developing a waste management system, assigning specific responsibilities to different cadres of workers, allocating resources in an evidence-based manner, enhancing awareness about the risks associated with healthcare waste and safe disposal measures, and adopting safe and environment-friendly options to safeguard the health interests of people involved in collection, handling, storing, transporting, treating or disposing of the healthcare wastes. ,,,,
In addition, other measures like preferring methods such as autoclaving or microwaving over incineration, removing needles mechanically, systems for safe transport and storage, recycling sterilized plastic and metal parts, proper maintenance of equipments, can also be of great significance. , Not only that, specific guidelines have been formulated by the international agencies to aid different nations in ensuring standardized handling of the healthcare wastes. 
In conclusion, safe handling of the healthcare waste is an important global concern, and it strictly demands for commitment from the national stakeholders to safeguard the interests of humans as well as protect environment.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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