Background Currently Ceylon tea is a major foreign exchange earner in Sri Lanka, only second to the foreign exchange earned by the garment industry. Tea industry has a large work force since it utilize manual labor for the major steps of its production. Estate population in Sri Lanka is relatively less educated and belongs to the lower socio-economic status compared to the general public. Most of the workers in tea factories are females and it has been reported that these females are commonly complaining musculoskeletal pain in multiple sites of the body. This was found to increase the work disability . However this problem and its impact on quality of life have not been studied systematically.
Objectives This research was carried out to study the multi-site pain and its impact on quality of life among the female tea factory workers in southern Sri Lanka.
Methods This study was carried out among a random sample of female workers, working in tea factories in Akuressa division in southern Sri Lanka. Pain in two or more sites of the body for a minimum period of three months during the last 12 months was considered as chronic multi-site pain. Translated and validated WHO Quality of Life- Brief questionnaire was used to assess the quality of life of workers. Data was collected by medically qualified research assistants using a structured questionnaire.
Results Four hundred female workers participated in the study. Mean age of workers was 38.25 years with the range of 19 years to 57 years. Most (61.5%) had an education only up to grade 5. Mean duration of work in tea factories is 15.55. 35.25% of workers were found to have multi-site pain. Only 25.50% rated their overall quality of life as very good or good, and 22.25% were satisfied with their health. Workers with multi-site pain were had significantly (p<0.05) lower scores (worse) relating to psychological and physiological domains compared to the workers without multi-site pain.
Conclusions More than one third of Female tea factory workers in Sri Lanka report chronic multi-site pain and they had lower quality of life compared to the other workers. Long term follow up studies for identify the risk factors of developing multi-site pain of these workers is therefore warranted.
Neupane S, Miranda H, Virtanen P, Siukolal A, Nygard CH. Multi-site pain and work ability among an industrial population, Occupational Medicine 2011:61(8):563-569.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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