open access

Vol 66, No 3 (2015)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original articles
Published online: 2015-09-22
Submitted: 2015-09-22
Accepted: 2015-09-22
Get Citation

Women seafarers’ health and welfare survey

Suzanne Stannard, Caitlin Vaughan, Olivia Swift, Georgina Robinson, Syed Asif Altaf, Alison McGarry
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2015.0027
·
Pubmed: 26394312
·
International Maritime Health 2015;66(3):123-138.

open access

Vol 66, No 3 (2015)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original articles
Published online: 2015-09-22
Submitted: 2015-09-22
Accepted: 2015-09-22

Abstract

Background: This is a collaborative study from the International Maritime Health Association, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, International Transport Workers’ Federation and the Seafarers Hospital Society. The aim of the study was to look at the health and welfare needs of women seafarers and how organisations can best make or campaign for improvements to the health information and services available to women seafarers.

Materials and methods: A pilot study was conducted in July 2014 and following review of the data and revision of the questionnaire the study was launched in December 2014, running until the middle of March 2015. Results collected from the survey are also supported by qualitative data obtained from two focus groups run during February and March.

Results: 595 responses were received from a range of nationalities, ages and positions on board ships. The findings suggest that joint/back pain, stress/depression/anxiety and headache seem to be the most common symptoms reported by women seafarers and that 55% felt that they are related to their work. 48% state that they have problems with seeking medical care and offer suggestions to improve this. Routine wellness checks, nutrition and information on joint and back pain are the main areas that women seafarers stated health screening/services/information would be most useful to improve their health and wellbeing. They suggested this could best be received directly from health professionals, or alternatively by reading leaflets or from online websites/an app. Significantly 37% of women seafarers also stated that they do not have access to sanitary bins within the toilet and 18% say that sexual harassment is an issue.

Conclusions: The responses received highlight a small number of areas where relatively simple and low-cost interventions might improve the health and welfare of women seafarers. Specifically these include the production and appropriate, distribution of gender — specific information on back pain, mental health and nutrition in addition to gynaecological complaints, to all women seafarers; the introduction of means for disposing of sanitary waste for all female crew on all ships and the improved availability of female specific products e.g. sanitary products in port shops and welfare centres worldwide. Additional work is needed to investigate these areas more fully and to look at the issue of confidence in medically trained staff, medical confidentiality and sexual harassment. Any further work and interventions will require the support of all of the main stakeholders and we plan a briefing meeting to publicise the findings to date and to identify support for further work in this area.

Abstract

Background: This is a collaborative study from the International Maritime Health Association, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, International Transport Workers’ Federation and the Seafarers Hospital Society. The aim of the study was to look at the health and welfare needs of women seafarers and how organisations can best make or campaign for improvements to the health information and services available to women seafarers.

Materials and methods: A pilot study was conducted in July 2014 and following review of the data and revision of the questionnaire the study was launched in December 2014, running until the middle of March 2015. Results collected from the survey are also supported by qualitative data obtained from two focus groups run during February and March.

Results: 595 responses were received from a range of nationalities, ages and positions on board ships. The findings suggest that joint/back pain, stress/depression/anxiety and headache seem to be the most common symptoms reported by women seafarers and that 55% felt that they are related to their work. 48% state that they have problems with seeking medical care and offer suggestions to improve this. Routine wellness checks, nutrition and information on joint and back pain are the main areas that women seafarers stated health screening/services/information would be most useful to improve their health and wellbeing. They suggested this could best be received directly from health professionals, or alternatively by reading leaflets or from online websites/an app. Significantly 37% of women seafarers also stated that they do not have access to sanitary bins within the toilet and 18% say that sexual harassment is an issue.

Conclusions: The responses received highlight a small number of areas where relatively simple and low-cost interventions might improve the health and welfare of women seafarers. Specifically these include the production and appropriate, distribution of gender — specific information on back pain, mental health and nutrition in addition to gynaecological complaints, to all women seafarers; the introduction of means for disposing of sanitary waste for all female crew on all ships and the improved availability of female specific products e.g. sanitary products in port shops and welfare centres worldwide. Additional work is needed to investigate these areas more fully and to look at the issue of confidence in medically trained staff, medical confidentiality and sexual harassment. Any further work and interventions will require the support of all of the main stakeholders and we plan a briefing meeting to publicise the findings to date and to identify support for further work in this area.

Get Citation

Keywords

women seafarers’ health and welfare needs

About this article
Title

Women seafarers’ health and welfare survey

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 66, No 3 (2015)

Pages

123-138

Published online

2015-09-22

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2015.0027

Pubmed

26394312

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2015;66(3):123-138.

Keywords

women seafarers’ health and welfare needs

Authors

Suzanne Stannard
Caitlin Vaughan
Olivia Swift
Georgina Robinson
Syed Asif Altaf
Alison McGarry

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