Healthcare waste management in the Gaza Strip

pic005Entitled ‘Assessment of health-care waste management in a humanitarian crisis:
A case study of the Gaza Strip’, this recently published paper presents research undertaken by Dr Marco Caniato, with assistance from Dr Mentore Vaccari (from the University of Brescia), and myself, in the Gaza Strip.

Since Hamas reinforced its power in Gaza in 2007, there have been three large-scale conflicts with Israel. However, the 2014 war was the most deadly and devastating, with more than 2200
Palestinians (mostly civilians) killed, and 11,231 Palestinians injured. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed, and 1600 people wounded. About 170,000 homes and 360 factories in Gaza were damaged or lost, key infrastructure hit, and thousands of acres of farmland were ruined. In such a scenario, access to and quality of healthcare are a particularly critical issue, as well as the management of by-products, like the waste generated.

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. It was estimated that the hazardous waste production from clinics and hospitals of 683 kg/day, while the total healthcare 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 manuscript is available here


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