Background: Since the implementation of the biomedical Waste Management Rules 1998, every concerned health personnel is expected to have proper knowledge, practice and capacity to guide others for waste collection and management, and proper handling techniques. Dental offices generate a number of hazardous wastes that can be detrimental to the environment if not properly managed. With this background, the study was conducted to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of biomedical waste management among dental health care personnel in Kothamangalam, Kerala.
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire based survey containing 24 questions to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice on biomedical waste management. The samples were the teaching faculty members and students of 3 dental colleges in Kothamangalam, Kerala. Results were expressed as a number and percentage of respondents for each question and Chi-square test was performed for inferential statistical analysis.
Results: The mean knowledge, attitude and practice scores were 4.35±1.63, 4.69±1.97, 4.43±0.78 respectively with maximum scores of 9, 5 and 10. Significant differences existed in relation to educational qualification of respondents in knowledge and practice scores.
Conclusion: The study revealed that although the attitude regarding biomedical waste management among faculty members and students of the institution was high, knowledge and practice remained low.
The health care sector comprise a diverse range of health care facilities which have a size assortment from large general and specialist hospitals to small municipal dispensaries and D-type centers. All these facilities are an integral part of our society with an endeavor to reduce health problems and to eliminate imminent jeopardy to people’s health. In the course of curing health problems the health care sector produce huge amount of bio-medical waste which may be hazardous to all those who come in contact with this waste. Hazardous waste management is a concern for every health care organization.1
Health-care waste refers to all the waste generated by a health care establishment. It is estimated that 10-25% of health care waste is hazardous, with the potential for creating a variety of health problems.2 The waste produced in the course of healthcare activities carries a higher potential for infection than any other type of wastes.3 Bio-medical waste collection and proper disposal has become a significant concern for both the medical and the general community. Since the implementation of the biomedical Waste Management Rules 1998, every concerned health personnel is expected to have proper knowledge, practice and capacity to guide others for waste collection and management, and proper handling techniques.2
Dental offices generate a number of hazardous wastes that can be detrimental to the environment if not properly managed. This includes sharps, used disposable items, infectious wastes (blood-soaked cotton, gauze etc.), mercury containing waste (mercury, amalgam scrap), lead containing waste (lead foil packets, lead aprons) and chemical waste (such as spent film developers, fixers and disinfectants). Studies have shown that waste water from dental offices typically contains elevated concentrations of metals such as mercury, silver, copper, tin and zinc. Sources of these metals include placement and removal of amalgam fillings (mercury, silver, copper, tin and zinc) and disposal of the spent X-ray fixer solution.
The biomedical waste management and handling rules have been notified in 1998.5 The rules were amended twice in 2000, primarily to address administrative matters.
The rule makes it mandatory for the health care establishments to segregate, disinfect and dispose their waste in an ecofriendly manner. An important pre-requisite and key to successful waste management program is segregation which is the separation of different types of waste as per treatment and disposal option. Segregation and collection of various categories of waste should be done at the source, in separate containers so that each category is treated in a suitable manner to render it harmless. For waste management to be effective, the waste should be managed at every step, from acquisition to disposal.4
With this background, the study was conducted to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of biomedical waste management among dental health care personnel in Kothamangalam, Kerala.
The study was a cross-sectional questionnaire based survey. The target population was the dental students and the teaching faculty members of three dental colleges in Kothamangalam. A prefabricated validity tested questionnaire that was administered to the target population. The questionnaire was divided into two parts. The first part consisted of questions on personal and professional data including age, gender, qualification, experience and type of practice. The second part contained 24 questions on assessment of knowledge, attitude and practice regarding biomedical waste management. All questions in the questionnaire were close-ended.
The questionnaires were distributed by the faculty members of Department of Public Health Dentistry and dental students posted in the department. The respondents were asked to return the questionnaire immediately.
All returned questionnaires were coded and analyzed. Results were expressed as a number and percentage of respondents for each question and were analyzed using the SPSS Version 17 software. Chi-square test was performed and the level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
Among a total of 264 respondents, 33% (n=87) were males and the rest 67% (n=177) were females. About 44% (n=116) were undergraduate students, 16.7% (n=44) were interns, 9.5% (n=25) were post graduation students and the rest 29.9% (n=79) were teaching faculty members. Among the faculty members, 74.7% (n=59) had private practice in addition to institution based practice. The profile of respondents is given in table 1.
Table 1. Profile of respondents
|Eductational qualifications||UG STUDENT||116||43.9|
|TYPE OF PRACTICE||INSTITUTION||20||25.3|
|INSTITUTION AND PRIVATE||59||74.7|
|YEAR OF STUDY||THIRD YEAR||56||48.3|
Assessment of knowledge, attitude and practice on biomedical waste management