Medical waste, despite the relatively small amounts in which it is generated, is a major concern for healthcare professionals and the government mainly because it poses risks to humans and the environment. Previous studies have shown that there is poor management of medical waste in developing nations, and Nigeria is not an exception. Some have surveyed the associated risks but few have studied the risk perceptions among healthcare professionals, particularly in this environment. This study therefore aimed at assessing the waste management practices among healthcare professionals at privately owned health facilities in Ife Central LGA. The study was a cross sectional study that assessed 24 private health facilities in Ife Central Local Government Area of Osun state, Nigeria using self-administered questionnaires, observational checklist and weighing of wastes. Risk perception of respondents was graded on a scale of 1 – 10 as low risk (1-4), average risk (5-6) and high risk (7-10). The facilities assessed generated a median waste of 500 g/day. 62.5% of them separated the waste, while 25% colour coded; however, none correctly matched the colours with the appropriate category of waste. 79.2% stored their waste in dustbins, and 75% of them burned while 20.8% buried the waste as a means of disposal. 45.8% had sharps boxes, 29.2% disinfected sharps before disposal; disposal was mostly by burning (41.7%).Over 90% of respondents were aware of health risks associated with health care waste management, with HIV (71%) and HBV (67%) being the most reported. Over a third (38%) of the respondents considered themselves to be at average risk with regards to health care wastes. Generation of medical waste is low in Private health facilities. However, open burning remains the way of disposal for such wastes and the health care professionals do not consider themselves at high risk from these wastes.
Key words: Health care waste, management, private facilities, hospital, medical.
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