Reverse Logistics Network Design for Effective Management of Medical Waste in Epidemic Outbreaks: Insights from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in Wuhan (China)

25 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2020 Last revised: 12 Mar 2020

See all articles by Hao Yu

Hao Yu

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway

Xu Sun

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway

Wei Deng Solvang

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway

Xu Zhao

China Three Gorges University (CTGU)

Date Written: February 14, 2020

Abstract

The outbreak of an epidemic disease may pose significant treats to human beings and may further lead to a global crisis. In order to control the spread of an epidemic, the effective management of rapidly increased medical waste through establishing a temporary reverse logistics system is of vital importance. However, no research has been conducted with the focus on the design of an epidemic reverse logistics network for dealing with medical waste during epidemic outbreaks, which, if improperly treated, may accelerate disease spread and pose a significant risk for both medical staffs and patients. Therefore, this paper proposes a novel multi-objective multi-period mixed integer program for reverse logistics network design in epidemic outbreaks, which aims at determining the best locations of temporary facilities and the transportation strategies for effective management of the exponentially increased medical waste within a very short period. The application of the model is illustrated with a case study based on the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. Even though the uncertainty of the future COVID-19 spread tendency is very high at the time of this research, several general policy recommendations can still be obtained based on computational experiments and quantitative analyses. Among other insights, the results suggest installing temporary incinerators may be an effective solution for managing the tremendous increase of medical waste during the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, but the location selection of these temporary incinerators is of significant importance. Due to the limitation on available data and knowledge at present stage, more real-world information are needed to assess the effectiveness of the current solution.

Funding: The publication charges for this article have been funded by a grant from the publication fund of UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Declaration of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Keywords: Epidemic outbreak, medical waste, reverse logistics, epidemic logistics, network design, operations research

Suggested Citation

Yu, Hao and Sun, Xu and Solvang, Wei Deng and Zhao, Xu, Reverse Logistics Network Design for Effective Management of Medical Waste in Epidemic Outbreaks: Insights from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in Wuhan (China) (February 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3538063 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3538063

Hao Yu (Contact Author)

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway ( email )

UiT Norges arktiske universitet
Postboks 6050 Langnes
Tromsø, 9037
Norway

Xu Sun

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway ( email )

UiT Norges arktiske universitet
Postboks 6050 Langnes
Tromsø, 9037
Norway

Wei Deng Solvang

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway ( email )

UiT Norges arktiske universitet
Postboks 6050 Langnes
Tromsø, 9037
Norway

Xu Zhao

China Three Gorges University (CTGU) ( email )

Yichang
China

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