Vol 73, No 1 (2022)
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Published online: 2022-03-31

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Evaluation of occupational health management status and safety issues of the small-scale fisheries sector in Bangladesh

M.U.M. Abu Zakaria1, Debabrata Paul1, Raju Das1, Shuva Bhowmik1, Md. Sazedul Hoque2, Abdullah-Al Mamun1
Pubmed: 35380169
IMH 2022;73(1):10-19.


Background: Small-scale fishing is one of the most precarious occupations, with high rates of threats and hazards. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the health hazards and safety issues of fishers involved in small-scale fisheries (SSF).
Materials and methods: Fifty SSF fishers (n = 50) were surveyed by using a pre-tested questionnaire between October 2019 and March 2020 at the lower Meghna River in the northern tip of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh.
Results: Results revealed that 56% of SSF fishermen belong to a nuclear family, and 42% completed primary education. Forty per cent had an annual income of between 1,000 and 1,500 USD. Seventy-six per cent of fishermen were found to suffer from fever, and 72%, and 60% from diarrhoea and skin diseases over the last 5 years (2015–2020), respectively. During fishing, 78% of fishermen also suffered from red-eye problems, dizziness, and headache, and 68% struggled with musculoskeletal complaints during the last 5 years. Extreme cyclonic occurrences and sudden storms were experienced by 66% and 32% of fishermen, respectively, during the last 5 years. Local pharmacies were visited by 46% of fishermen for treatment due to ease of access. Sixty-four per cent of participants applied their local indigenous knowledge to treat health-related problems. Twenty-eight per cent and 32% of fishermen used a first aid box and stored medicine on board, respectively.
Conclusions: Most of the fishers are in great risk of medium- to high-range danger while fishing in the SSF sector in Bangladesh. Many countries have developed protocols for safe and responsible fishing. In Bangladesh, adequate attention is needed for the sustainable development of the SSF sector.

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