Background: Health facilities generate different types of wastes which are characterized as hazardous, most of which are toxic, harmful, carcinogenic and infectious. Waaste collectors face massive exposure to hazardous wastes and occupational accidents as a result of manual handling of healthcare waste and working under unfavourable conditions.
Methodology: The study employed a cross-sectional study design on 253 medical wastes collectors interviewed using questionnaire from 65 health facilities. With an observational checklist, the healthcare waste management system of these health facilities was also assessed. For data analysis, factors associated with exposure to sharp injuries and blood and body fluids were identified by a binary logistic regression with Generalized Estimating Equation model to control the effect of clustering.
Result: For the last one year, there were 75 (30%) waste collector who were exposed to any sharp material and 121 (43.8%) had exposure to blood and body fluid while handling healthcare wastes. Factors such as not wearing glove (AOR=3.5, CI=1.17-4.92, p=0.003), being uneducated AOR=1.55, CI=1.18-2.65, p=0.03) and not taking training (AOR=1.39, CI=1.27-2.48, p=0.01) were found to be associated with exposure to sharp injury and blood and body fluids.
Conclusion: Medical waste collectors are exposed to high sharp injury and blood and body fluid. Adequate training before employment and on job, provision of personal protective devices and routine exposure reporting mechanism, testing, medication and post exposure prophylaxis and establishment of therapeutic centers are recommended
Tadesse Alemayehu, Alemayehu Worku and Nega Assefa