There is a concern that mismanagement of medical waste in developing countries may be a significant risk factor for disease transmission. Quantitative estimation of medical waste generation is needed to estimate the potential risk and as a basis for any waste management plan. Dhaka city, the capital of Bangladesh, is an example of a major city in a developing country where there has been no rigorous estimation of medical waste generation based upon a thorough scientific study. These estimates were obtained by stringent weighing of waste in a carefully chosen, representative, sample of HCEs, including non-residential diagnostic centres. The present study used a statistically designed sampling of waste generation in a broad range of Health Care Establishments (HCE) to indicate that the amount of waste produced in Dhaka can be estimated to be 37 ± 5 tonnes per day. The proportion of this waste that would be classified as hazardous waste by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines was found to be approximately 21%. The amount of waste, and the proportion of hazardous waste, was found to vary significantly with the size and type of HCE.