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Medical sharps in Portugal: a cross-sectional survey of disposal practices among the diabetic population

We randomly sampled diabetic patients representative of five primary care facilities. Inclusion criteria consisted in patients‚Č•18 years old with an active diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM). Patients unable to provide written informed consent were excluded.

A total of 1436 diabetics were included.

Conclusions: Most diabetics have unsafe disposal practices for their biohazardous materials, mostly in unsorted household waste. We identified that being unemployed independently predicts adequate disposal of medical sharps and found evidence of low patient literacy on the topic, as well as poor patient education. Therefore, educating and raising awareness among healthcare professionals is crucial to address this public health issue.