Healthcare waste (HCW) represents a major public health issue, especially in developing countries. Among HCW categories, sharps waste is one of the most hazardous. Exposure to needle-stick injuries can lead to blood-borne pathogens, therefore HCW should be managed in an effective manner. The main aims of this study were to assess the current management of used needles and to suggest suitable recommendations for an improved and safer system for needle management in Khartoum, Sudan. The study showed that the management of both healthcare and home-generated HCW in Sudan is inefficient, as all wastes are mixed together and disposed of improperly, especially used needles. The study attributes this to many reasons, including lack of waste segregation at the source, lack of policies, failure of planning, inadequate training, lack of awareness of the hazardous nature of such kinds of waste, weak infrastructure, and a lack of suitable treatment technologies. The estimated average generated rate of HCW ranged from 0.38 to 0.87 kg/bed/day in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Such ineffective healthcare waste management HCWM, especially used needles, can put public health as well as the environment at risk, particularly waste workers, thus urgent action needs to be taken by all involved parties and at all levels.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.