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      Occupational illnesses in the 2009 Zambian labour force survey

      , 1 , 2 , 3

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          Occupational health has received limited research attention in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Much of the published data in this region come from South Africa and little has been reported north of the Limpopo. The present study was conducted to estimate the burden of occupational illnesses in Zambia and assess factors associated with their occurrence.


          Data were obtained from the Zambian Labour Force Survey of 2009. Frequencies were used to estimate the prevalence of occupational diseases. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the associations between demographic, social and economic factors and reported illness resulting from occupational exposures. Odds ratios (OR) from bivariate analyses and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) from the multivariate analysis together with their 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) are reported.


          Data on 59,118 persons aged 18 years or older were available for analysis, of which 29805 (50.4%) were males. The proportions of the sample that reported to have suffered from an occupational illness were 12.7% among males and 10.4% among females (p < 0.001). Overall the proportions of respondents who reported suffering from fatigue, fever and chest infections were 38.8%, 21.7% and 17.1%, respectively. About two thirds (69.7%) of the study participants had stayed away from work due to the illness suffered at work; there was no sex differences (p = 0.216). Older age, being male, lower education level, married/cohabiting or once married (separated/divorced/widowed), and paid employee or employer/self employed were positively associated with having suffered from illness.


          The findings from this study call for urgent effort for specific measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of occupational injuries. These interventions may include: public health campaigns, enforcement or change in work policies and regulations. Special attention may have to be made towards those who were more likely to suffer from occupational illnesses.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Hepatitis B infection among health workers in Uganda: evidence of the need for health worker protection.

          Hepatitis B exposure was assessed in 311 health workers in Uganda, a highly endemic country. Health workers were selected by random sampling from a categorized list of health workers at district level, proportionate to the population of each district. Whereas 60.1% of health workers have evidence of hepatitis B infection, with 8.7% being chronic carriers and one (0.3%) acutely infected, 36.3% are still susceptible and could benefit from vaccination. Only 5.1% reported having had at least one dose of hepatitis B vaccine and 3.5% were apparently immune through vaccination. Needle stick injuries reported by 77% of health workers were the most common mode of exposure to blood and body fluids. Trends suggested duration of service as a predictor while age and history of blood transfusion remained significant independent risk factors for hepatitis B infection. 98% of health workers are willing to be vaccinated. These results confirm the need for protection and vaccination of health workers in Uganda against hepatitis B.
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            Estimates of acute pesticide poisoning in agricultural workers in less developed countries.

             M Litchfield (2004)
            The benefits of crop protection products have to be balanced against the risks to farmers and other agricultural workers handling and applying them. The extent of acute pesticide poisoning in these workers, particularly in less developed countries, has often been based on inadequate information. A number of approaches have been taken by researchers to acquire information on pesticide poisoning. These have resulted in worldwide (global) estimates and regional, localised or field assessments. The methods include descriptive epidemiology, cross-sectional and case studies. Attempts to estimate global pesticide poisonings have often been based upon extrapolations and assumptions from chemical-related fatalities in a small number of countries; such estimates do not provide reliable data. Epidemiological studies, relying mainly on hospital and poison centre data, have been biased towards the more severe poisonings, whereas field studies indicate that occupational pesticide poisoning is associated with less severe and minor effects. Many reports do not adequately distinguish between intentional, accidental and occupational pesticide poisoning statistics or are dominated by cases of intentional (suicidal) poisoning which, by their nature, result in severe or fatal results. The majority of reports do not adequately describe whether individual cases are minor, moderate or severe poisonings. In order to assess information on acute pesticide poisoning in agricultural workers in less developed countries and to draw conclusions on the extent and severity of occupational poisoning, the most recent (post-1990) literature was reviewed. Data were also derived from the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Labour Office (ILO). The collected information was analysed to assess the extent and severity of occupational acute pesticide poisoning in less developed countries. Occupational acute pesticide poisonings in these countries are a small proportion of overall reported poisoning and are associated with the more minor effects of pesticides. They are a small proportion (<1-4%) of the several million cases of occupational injuries and ill health in agricultural workers worldwide. However, improvements are required for the collection of acute pesticide poisoning data in less developed countries and in the verification of the circumstances of poisonings and their relative severity. There is the need to move away from further attempts to estimate global data and concentrate instead on obtaining reliable data from realistic crop protection activities.
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              Awareness of occupational hazards and utilization of safety measures among welders in Kaduna metropolis, northern Nigeria.

               K Sabitu,  Z Iliyasu,  M Dauda (2016)
              Welders are exposed to a variety of occupational hazards with untoward health effects. However, little is known of welders' awareness of health hazards and their adherence to safety precautions in developing countries. This study assessed the awareness of occupational hazards and adherence to safety measures among welders in Kaduna metropolis in northern Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was administered on a cross-section of 330 welders in Kaduna metropolis in northern Nigeria. Information was sought on their socio-demographic characteristics, their awareness of occupational hazards and adherence to safety measures. All welders were males with a mean age of 35.7 +/- 8.4 years. The illiteracy rate was 7.6%. Overall, 257 (77.9%) of the welders were aware of one or more workplace hazards. This was positively influenced by educational attainment, age, nature of training and work experience. Of the 330 respondents, 282 (85.3%) had experienced one or more work-related accidents in the preceding year. The most common injuries sustained were cut/injuries to the hands and fingers (38.0%), back/waist pain (19%), arc eye injuries/foreign bodies (17.0%), burns (14.0%), hearing impairment (7.0%), fractures (4.0%) and amputation (1.0%). Only 113 (34.2%) welders used one or more types of protective device with eye goggles (60.9%), hand gloves (50.3%) and boots (34.5%) being more frequently used. Regular use of safety device, shorter working hours and increasing experience were protective of occupational accidents. The level of awareness of occupational hazards was high with sub optimal utilization of protective measures against the hazards. There is therefore need for health and safety education of these workers for health and increased productivity.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Department of Public Health, Division of Community Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi
                [2 ]Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
                [3 ]Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia
                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Research Notes
                BioMed Central
                27 October 2010
                : 3
                : 272
                Copyright ©2010 Muula et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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