Effectiveness of commonly used methods in disposing pharmaceutical waste in pharmacies and hospitals: a case of pharmacies in Mombasa County, Kenya
Wepukhulu, Jonathan K
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The occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment has received growing attention since the 1980s. The major issues associated with the origins and occurrence of these chemicals in surface, subsurface, and drinking waters (as well as what little is known about the potential effects on non target species) have been captured in a number of reviews, books, and proceedings. Examples of some recent ones of which include Daughton (200la), Daughton and Jones-Lepp (2001), Daughton and Ternes (1999), Heberer (2002); see also Kemmerer (2001), Servos et al. (2002)The purpose of this research was to determine the effectiveness of the various methods used in disposal of pharmaceutical wastes in pharmacies and hospitals in Kenya. The study was carried out in Mombasa County. The research design used was descriptive as well as explanatory. The study utilized both primary and secondary data. The target population was pharmacies in Mombasa County and the sample was the staff within the pharmacies. The sample size was 150 respondents picked using stratified random sampling. The data collection was done using questionnaires and the data collected was analyzed using cross tabulation and descriptive statistics. Data presentation was by the use of frequency tables and percentages. The research findings show that most of the respondents agreed with the fact that incineration is the most effective method in disposal of pharmaceutical waste. The respondents disagree that sewer method was not an effective method of pharmaceutical waste disposal. The research revealed that incineration was the highly practiced method of pharmaceutical waste disposal with most respondents rated it as highly effective. In the absence of incinerators we should adopt safer methods like waste immobilization and chemical decomposition. Landfill method should be minimized due to its negative effects to the environment. The researcher recommends to NEMA to provide training to pharmacy staff on safe and effective ways of disposing pharmaceutical wastes. The government should increase the number of incinerators to enhance accessibility of this facility and the pharmacy and poisons board should enhance surveillance and ensure disposal guidelines and policies are adhered to by pharmaceutical companies. The study recommends further research to cover both rural health centre pharmacies and urban hospital pharmacies within Mombasa County. This will give a more realistic picture on the pharmacy sector as a whole. The study was done on retail pharmacies only, the same study could be done on distributors and pharmaceutical companies in Kenya since they deal with huge quantities of pharmaceutical products. The study restricted itself on the staff at the pharmacies, there happens to be another big gap in the way used pharmaceuticals and personal care products are disposed in homes.