Pan American Health and Education FoundationThe Pan American Health and Education Foundation

Biomedical Waste Management in the Eastern Caribbean

Biomedical waste can be hazardous to human and environmental health if not properly treated and disposed. To assess and improve how biomedical waste is handled in the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Martin Forde of the Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, St. George’s University, Grenada, conducted a review of the biomedical waste management practices in the nine-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) over a four-month period in 2007. Financial support was given by PAHEF to Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) to fund the project.

Methods
Dr. Forde’s research primarily included in-person interviews and on-site tours of waste handling and treatment facilities within all nine of the OECS member states. Additionally, data was collected via photos, existing documents, and telephone interviews. One area of research emphasis was the degree to which specific biomedical waste equipment (e.g., color-coded trash bags, sharps containers, incinerators) was used by health care personnel in health care facilities and waste disposal sites.

 

Clinical laboratory autoclave at
St. George's Hospital, Grenada


Additionally, Dr. Forde examined:

• legislation and policies regulating the management and disposal of biomedical waste in various settings in the OECS

• level and training frequency in biomedical waste management concepts to all health care personnel at each facility

• the methods of treatment and disposal of biomedical waste such as incinerators, autoclaves, and landfills

• the existence of a biomedical waste recording and tracking systems used to quantify data


Dr. Forde’s report concluded with a number of recommendations, both short- and long-term, which could dramatically improve the management of biomedical waste in the OECS region. Guidelines setting up a biomedical waste management training program were provided to governments in the region that may wish to begin developing a training program. These guidelines can be used to help workers involved in generating, handling, and disposing of biomedical waste adopt industry-developed best practices.

 


 

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