Hospitals are a source of medical waste and a place to provide health care and treatments for patients. It is also a place where the improper use of health care storage or disposal methods adversely impacts human health. Proper management of medical waste is necessary to reduce contamination and other hazards to the community. Health workers play an important role in the safe care and management of medical waste disposal in their day-to-day practice. The purpose of this survey was to assess the level of knowledge, attitudes and practices of healthcare workers in the management of medical waste in Preah Ang Duong Hospital.
The study used a cross-sectional design by interviewing 132 healthcare staff, including nurses, midwives, and laboratory staff. We used smartphones and tablets to collect data using structured questionnaires in the Kobo Tool Box platform. We generated the total scores from knowledge (16 questions), attitudes (10 questions), and practices (12 questions). Then, the total KAP scores were categorized as “Low”, "Medium" and "High". Descriptive analysis was used to calculate the frequency, proportion, and mean (SD). We used the chi-square test to assess the relationship between health staff characteristics and KAP variables.
The majority were women (65.9%). The age group 30-39 years old accounted for the highest proportion (58.3%). Health staff working in nursing care represented 77.5%. Half of the health workers reported joining the waste management training at least once. The knowledge mean score was 14.6 (SD = 1.23), and staff on medical waste management was high (92.0%). The average score of positive attitudes was 18.9 (SD = 1.52). 98.0% was classified as having a high attitude. The mean score for practice of medical waste management was 20.9 (SD = 3.0). A total of 82.0% of health workers were defined as having high practices. Only health workers who had experienced attending medical waste management training had a correlation with knowledge level (p value = 0.012).
Overall, knowledge, attitudes and practices of healthcare workers on medical waste management were relatively high. Only health workers who were experienced attending medical waste management had an association with high knowledge. Other variables found no relation with KAP at all, such as age group, sex, and type of job. Future research should consider qualitative approaches, such as key informant interview or staff observations, to obtain insightful views about the management of medical waste in the hospital setting.