Healthcare waste management in Uganda: management and generation rates in public and private hospitals in Kampala

R.K. Mugambe, J.C. Ssempebwa, N.M. Tumwesigye, B.J.M. van Vliet, A. Adedimeji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Aim The aim of this study was to assess the management, characteristics and generation of healthcare waste (HCW) in public and private hospitals in Kampala City, Uganda. Methods We employed mainly qualitative methods through the use of a waste inventory, observations, document review and key informant interviews. The HCW inventory was done to determine the rate of generation of infectious waste and general waste in one public and one private hospital. Observations using an observation checklist were done to establish HCW management practices in three hospitals. Results The average generation rate for infectious waste from Nsambya hospital (private hospital) was 0.23 kg/patient/day as compared to 0.25 kg/patient/day for Mulago (public hospital). Generation is influenced by type and state of sickness/condition, the level or seriousness of the sickness, the number of people nursing the patient, the visitation rate/number of people visiting a patient and the items they carry to the ward. These factors can be used by health facility managers to minimize the quantities of healthcare waste generated. Conclusion The study found no evidence that either public or private ownership is a decisive factor for the successful management of healthcare waste. However, contracting of healthcare waste management services to a private party as was seen in the public hospital had resulted in improved services and this strategy should also be tried in private hospitals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-251
JournalJournal of Public Health = Zeitschrift für Gesundheitswissenschaften
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Hazardous waste
  • Healthcare waste
  • Hospital waste
  • Infectious waste
  • Medical waste
  • Waste


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