Original Research

Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders amongst flower farm workers in Kenya

Jotham M. Munala, Benita Olivier, Wallace M. Karuguti, Simon M. Karanja
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 77, No 1 | a1515 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v77i1.1515 | © 2021 Jotham M. Munala, Benita Olivier, Wallace M. Karuguti, Simon M. Karanja | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 July 2020 | Published: 09 March 2021

About the author(s)

Jotham M. Munala, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Rehabilitative Sciences, Kenya Medical Training College, Nairobi; Department of Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Benita Olivier, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Wallace M. Karuguti, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Simon M. Karanja, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Public Health, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya


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Abstract

Background: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are a global public concern for health and social-care systems, as well as individuals. They are the second-most prevalent cause of disability globally.

Objectives: The primary objective was to determine the prevalence of WMSDs amongst flower farm workers. The secondary objective was to determine the association between the socio-demographic characteristics and the presence of WMSDs in the previous 12-month period.

Method: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted. A sample of 270 participants was drawn from 897 farm workers. Quantitative data related to musculoskeletal disorders were collected using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ). Descriptive statistics were undertaken using frequencies and percentages. Inferential statistics were analysed using a chi-squared test (X2) based on an alpha level of p < 0.05.

Results: A total of 184 (68.1%) respondents reported musculoskeletal discomfort. Amongst the 184 respondents, 178 were performing general farm work. Most 103 (38.1%) of the WMSDs were reported in the lower back. There was a strong association between job designation as a general worker (p = 0.016), an older age (p = 0.027) and having worked for a long time as a farm worker (p = 0.041) and WMSDs.

Conclusion: Flower farm workers in Kenya were found to be heavily burdened by WMSDs. Furthermore, the job designation, older age, as well as having worked for a long time, predisposes workers to the risk of developing WMSDs.

Clinical implications: The high prevalence of WMSDs necessitates policy reform in the flower farm industry.


Keywords

work-related musculoskeletal disorders; farm workers; prevalence; musculoskeletal pain; chronic pain

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