Assessment of Occupational Harzads and Health Problems among Female Farmers in North-Eastern Nigeria
Farming is the main occupation of the rural people in Northeastern region of Nigeria. It constitutes 60-75% of the population of the area and involves both male and female alike. However, a postharvest aspect of production is mostly handled by women. Thus the female farmers are more exposed to farming occupational hazards than their male counterparts. The aim of the study was to identify the occupational hazard problems encountered by female farmers in Northeastern region of Nigeria. Specifically, to (i) determine the prevalence of injuries and diseases of women farmers; (ii) assess types of treatments available to women farmers; and (iii) assess the protective measures employed in preventing injuries and diseases. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted using a pre-tested questionnaire to collect data. Eight hundred questionnaires were administered. Multistage sample method was used to select the respondents. The results showed that 662 (82.8%) of the female farmers interviewed complained of back pains. Six hundred and twenty-four or (78.0%) of the respondents suffered lacerations from the usage of farm implements such as hoes, axes, sickles, cutlass, and also from grasses and thorns. Insect stings were the third most prevalent diseases and constitute 59.5% of the respondents. Other diseases prevalence were: sunburns, snake bites, fractures, and injuries from falling trees and branches, which constitute 20.6% of the farmers. The respondents got treatments at homes, traditional healers, and hospitals. The use of chemicals was not popular among the respondents, herbicides, (9.8%), pesticides, (13.1%) and insecticides (21.4%). Accordingly, the awareness of the harmful effects of these chemicals was low. Farming activities of the women farmers in northeastern, Nigeria was found to be their means of livelihoods. There is a need to increase agricultural mechanization in order to reduce injuries and pains associated with crude farm tools. Female farmers require more enlightenment on the need of using protective materials for farming activities.