Assessment of factors affecting healthcare waste management system in Machakos County, Kenya
Mwania, Michael Musango
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In general, most local authorities in Kenya have been unable to cope up with the segregation, the treatment and methods of waste disposal especially healthcare waste. Health facilities in Machakos County have poor practices when it comes to the segregation of healthcare waste, its treatment & disposal; the general population, the patients, the health workers including waste handlers are exposed to certain risks such as needle stick injuries, a higher risk of infection of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B&C. This study, therefore, focused on the reinforcement of the service delivery pillar of Health Systems, through addressing aspects of securely managing healthcare waste in medical facilities in Machakos County. The general objective of this study was to ascertain factors affecting the management system of healthcare waste in Machakos County in Kenya. The study was governed by four specific objectives; to determine the process of healthcare waste management, the role of health Managers, human resource factors, and how the implementation of healthcare waste management policy affect the management of wastes in the healthcare facilities in Machakos County. To obtain data for the study, a survey research-based study was used. Stratified random and purposive sampling techniques were used in drawing a sample size of 187 respondents. Questionnaires and interview guides were used in the collection of primary data, whereas existing literature that is related to the current research topic under study was used for the purposes of secondary data. The study findings showed that all the four independent variables healthcare waste management process health manager’s role, human resource factors, and healthcare waste management policy implementation had positively and significantly influence on the management of healthcare waste system. From the findings, the health manager’s role had the strongest positive and significant influence on the management of the healthcare waste system. The study concluded there is an inefficient healthcare waste management process in Machakos county health facilities, Health Managers understands their role in waste management but lack capacity building and enough funding to purchase required healthcare waste management commodities. Main human resource factors were lack of capacity building through continuous medical education on healthcare waste management and enough healthcare waste management commodities hence leading to inefficiencies on waste management. Most Health workers had little or no information on customized healthcare waste management policies and guidelines. The study recommended there a need for training on healthcare waste management to all healthcare staff and waste handlers in line with existing healthcare waste management policies for the healthcare waste management in Machakos County and in Kenya. County governments need to provide adequate budgets to health facilities to enable procurement of adequate healthcare waste management commodities and also adopt safe treatment technologies.