Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Assessment of the health care waste generation rates and its management system in hospitals of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2011

Mesfin Kote Debere1*, Kassahun Alemu Gelaye2, Andamlak Gizaw Alamdo3 and Zemedu Mehamed Trifa1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

2 Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

3 Arba Minch College of Health Sciences, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-28

Published: 12 January 2013



Healthcare waste management options are varying in Ethiopia. One of the first critical steps in the process of developing a reliable waste management plan requires a widespread understanding of the amount and the management system. This study aimed to assess the health care waste generation rate and its management system in some selected hospitals located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Six hospitals in Addis Ababa, (three private and three public), were selected using simple random sampling method for this work. Data was recorded by using an appropriately designed questionnaire, which was completed for the period of two months. The calculations were based on the weights of the health care wastes that were regularly generated in the selected hospitals over a one week period during the year 2011. Average generation indexes were determined in relation to certain important factors, like the type of hospitals (public vs private).


The median waste generation rate was found to be varied from 0.361- 0.669 kg/patient/day, comprised of 58.69% non-hazardous and 41.31% hazardous wastes. The amount of waste generated was increased as the number of patients flow increased (rs=1). Public hospitals generated high proportion of total health care wastes (59.22%) in comparison with private hospitals (40.48%). The median waste generation rate was significantly vary between hospitals with Kruskal-Wallis test (X2=30.65, p=0.0001). The amount of waste was positively correlated with the number of patients (p < 0.05). The waste separation and treatment practices were very poor. Other alternatives for waste treatment rather than incineration such as a locally made autoclave should be evaluated and implemented.


These findings revealed that the management of health care waste at hospitals in Addis Ababa city was poor.