Sharp waste disposal practice among general practitioners

Muhammad Hussain Khan, Habib-ullah Khan, Abdul Basit, Muhammad Ikram-ullah, Tariq Suhail Babar, Hafsa Habib


Background: Overuse of injections is common in general medical practice in the developing countries, including Pakistan. This study was conducted to know the injection practices and the ways of sharp waste disposal adopted by the general practitioners.

Material & Methods: It was a cross-sectional study carried out during the month of June 2005, in the urban area of District Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. A survey of 30 general practitioners was conducted through purposive sampling selection. The study participants were interviewed, using structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistical analysis was used to analyze the results.

Results: All the 30 (100%) practitioners were using disposable syringes; no one was using non-disposable glass syringes. Regarding the nature of sharp instruments, all the 30 (100%) GPs were using syringes, 15 (50%) were using needles, 10 (33.34%) were using blades, 1 (3.33%) was using scalpel. In 8 (26.67%) clinics the doctor himself was administering the injections while in 22 (73.33%) clinics the technicians were administering these. There was no reuse of syringes in any of the clinics. Sixteen (53.33%) doctors were disposing their sharp waste in the municipality waste, while 12 (40%) were burying and 2 (6.67%) were burning it. No one was using specialized containers for sharp waste disposal. Eleven (36.67%) doctors were separating while 19 (63.34%) were not separating the needles prior to disposal of the waste. Seventeen (56.67%) doctors were using and 13 (43.34%) were not using safe needle devices. Regarding the method of sterilization, 29 (96.66%) doctors were using the boiling method, one (3.33%) was using the dry heat method and none of the 30 GPs was using chemical method or autoclave for sterilization. About 13 (43.34%) doctors were using 100-150 syringes, 10 (33.33%) were using 50-100 syringes and 7 (23.33%) were using 200 syringes per day.

Conclusion: This study highlights the overuse of therapeutic injections and unsafe disposal of sharp waste by general practitioners. Immediate and properly planned steps are required to be taken by Health authorities to ensure the public safety.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Muhammad Hussain Khan, Habib-ullah Khan, Abdul Basit, Muhammad Ikram-ullah, Tariq Suhail Babar, Hafsa Habib

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