11 December 2018

Research pick: Medical waste - "Scenario-based risk assessment model for infectious medical waste collection and transportation system"

We need safe, secure, and sustainable ways to collect and transport infectious medical waste, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management. A.R. Tembhurkar and Radhika Deshpande of the Department of Civil Engineering, at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, explain that risk assessment is critical to understanding how we can develop new approaches to the infectious medical waste problem. This is not something that has yet been addressed properly in India, they add.

Rapid urbanisation and improved access to medical facilities has come at a price in terms of increased levels of medical waste. Such waste has to be handled carefully given its obvious risks to human health and the environment. Earlier research has looked at how to improve handling through better awareness, training of personnel handling medical waste management, and through quantifying the amount of waste that is being generated. Risk cannot be avoided entirely, but it can be minimized.

The current work looks at developing a scenario-based risk assessment approach to analyse and assess the various risks and confounding factors associated with the collection and transportation of infectious medical waste. The fundamental conclusion from the work is that secure transportation is critical to reducing risk. “The risk assessment model developed in this study is based upon the primary data collected for IMWCT system in India and thus, this will aid in analysing the risk in IMWCT system for Indian conditions,” the team reports. They add that the same model might be adapted for other parts of the world.

Tembhurkar, A.R. and Deshpande, R. (2018) ‘Scenario-basedrisk assessment model for infectious medical waste collection andtransportation system’, Int. J. Risk Assessment and Management, Vol. 21, No. 4,pp.271–282.

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