Assessment of health-care waste management in a humanitarian crisis: a case study of the Gaza Strip

Marco Caniato, Terry L Tudor, Mentore Vaccari

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Health-care waste management requires technical, financial and human resources, and it is a challenge for low- and middle income countries, while it is often neglected in protracted crisis or emergency situations. Indeed, when health, safety, security or wellbeing of a community is threatened, solid waste management usually receives limited attention. Using the Gaza Strip as the case study region, this manuscript reports on health-care waste management within the context of a humanitarian crisis. The study employed a range of methods including content analyses of policies and legislation, audits of waste arisings, field visits, stakeholder interviews and evaluation of treatment systems. The study estimated a production from clinics and hospitals of 683 kg/day of hazardous waste in the Gaza Strip, while the total health-care waste production was 3357 kg/day. A number of challenges was identified including lack of clear definitions and regulations, limited accurate data on which to base decisions and strategies and poor coordination amongst key stakeholders. Hazardous and non-hazardous waste was partially segregated and treatment facilities hardly used, and 75% of the hazardous waste was left untreated. Recommendations for mitigating these challenges posed to patients, staff and the community in general are suggested. The outputs are particularly useful to support decision makers, and re-organize the system according to reliable data and sound assumptions. The methodology can be replicated in other humanitarian settings, also to other waste flows, and other sectors of environmental sanitation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Early online date20 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Palestine
  • Gaza Strip
  • healthcare waste
  • medical waste
  • stakeholders engagement
  • sustainability
  • humanitarian context
  • assessment methods

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