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Vol 70, No 4 (2019)
Original article
Published online: 2019-12-24

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Health status of a sample of Beninese seafarers examined on the occasion of medical fitness for work at sea

Paul Ahoumènou Ayelo1, Brice Loddé2
Pubmed: 31891176
IMH 2019;70(4):226-231.

Abstract

Background: In view of the considerable risks involved in maritime work, the medical fitness of seafarers is of paramount importance. A study carried out in May 2018 in Benin made it possible to describe the health profile of seafarers who received a medical examination before boarding and to identify the diseases likely to hinder their medical aptitude for this profession.

Materials and methods: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study that was based on 125 medical files registered from 2013 to 2017 and selected on the basis of the criteria of completeness, readability and non-overload of the entries.

Results: The results showed that more than half (63.2%) of the seafarers in our series are over 40 years old. The prevalence of high blood pressure was 28.4% in the seafarer population. Obesity was detected in 21.5% of subjects. Of the moderate cases of hearing loss found, 4 out of 5 worked at the machine station. The unrestricted fitness level was 86.4%. One (0.8%) case of physical restriction and 12.8% of cases of mandatory wearing of medical glasses at work were reported. The “healthy worker effect” may underestimate the risk of marine activity to the health of seafarers when referring to the general population.

Conclusions: The study provides opportunities to improve the seafarers’ health situation in accordance with international provisions such as the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) ratified by Benin in June 2011.

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