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Health Care Waste Management

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Health Care Waste Management for Increased Safety

Health care waste management is a major health and environmental concern. Poor waste management in health facilities puts health care workers, patients, and communities at risk of infection and injury from used needles and other medical waste. Effective health care waste management strategies strengthen health systems and minimize the risk of transmitting infections such as HIV and hepatitis B and C; they also protect the environment.

We apply our extensive experience in injection safety, supply chain, and capacity building to improve health care waste management systems, and thus the health system overall.

JSI’s comprehensive and practical approaches to waste management have strengthened in-country capacity to segregate, handle, store, and dispose of health care waste. JSI provides technical support to countries through all stages of developing a waste management system, from initial assessment to implementation, evaluation, and policy development.

We have explored options for the final disposal of unused and expired antiretroviral drugs and constructed waste management pits. We have also developed public-private partnerships to collect and recycle old insecticide-treated bednets into bio-composite wood boards and for final disposal of expired pharmaceuticals, an often-overlooked aspect of health care waste management.

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Health Care Waste Management

Infection prevention and control
Reducing infections in facilities—whether from unsafe medical injections or lack of infection prevention standards—is critical to the health of patients and health care workers.
We work with local partners to incorporate safe health care waste management practices into ongoing infection prevention and control activities. We also train health care workers in effective infection-prevention, including handwashing and use of personal protective equipment during a health crisis like Ebola.
We draw on our deep experience in logistics and capacity building to support infection-prevention curriculum development in medical and nursing colleges. We encourage national policies that support training and promote behavior change communications aimed at improving health workers’ ability to meet their clients’ needs safely.

Voluntary medical male circumcision waste
JSI developed a global and adaptable comprehensive approach to voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) that includes guidelines, tools, and direct technical assistance in the evaluation, planning, and implementation of waste management systems. The VMMC online toolkit and a laboratory waste management pocket guide developed by JSI were used to build waste management and environmental hygiene capacity in seven countries.

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