The Condition of Pestiside Management and Possible Health Hazards in Butajira , Ethiopia

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KAROLINSKA INSTITUTET Department of Public Health Sciences Division of International Health (IHCAR) SE-171 76 STOCKHOLM, Sweden

The conditions of pesticide management and possible health hazards in Butajira, Ethiopia

A Minor Field Study Report January 2004 by
Malin Ahrne

MFS-Report No. 1/2004

Department of Community Health Addis Ababa University Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine Umeå International School of Public Health Department of Public Health Sciences Karolinska Institutet

2004-01-12 The Conditions of Pesticide Management and Possible Health Hazards in Butajira, Ethiopia

Investigator: Malin Ahrne Student of Public Health Karolinska Institutet, Sweden Advisers: Dr Abera, Department of Community Health, Addis Abeba University Mr Wakgari Deressa, Department of Community Health, Addis Abeba University Mr Anders Emmelin, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umea International School of Public Health Dr Yalemtsehay Mekonnen, Department of Biology, Addis Abeba University

Key words: Pesticides, Ethiopia, Butajira, health, agriculture.

This report on a study visit to Ethiopia, March 27 - May 16 2003, constitutes my Minor Field Study (MFS)-report. The grant from the International Programme Office, through IHCAR, Karolinska Institutet, to carry out an MFS, is gratefully acknowledged.

Abstract: Since the introduction of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in agriculture the production of food has increased substantially. The use of pesticides is an occupational hazard for farmers all over the world, but special problems occur in low- and middle-income countries. 80 % of the population of Ethiopia works within the agricultural sector. The health hazards with handling, storing and applying pesticides depend on for example the classification of the chemical, the handling practices and the amount of exposure to the chemical. The aim of this study is to assess the risk of acute pesticide poisoning for farmers and their families in smallholder agriculture in Butajira, rural Ethiopia, when storing, handling and using pesticides. A random sample of 140 households was conducted amongst the farmers in two villages. A structured questionnaire on the storage and handling practices of pesticides has been used. The data has been analysed with Epi Info version 6. The data analysis indicates that the use of agro-chemicals is widespread in this setting, but not very frequent. The use of pesticides/insecticides for other purposes such as for household use, and for livestock, is also quite extensive. The usage seems to increase according to larger land and cultivation of cash crops. This is likely to depend on the fact that farmers with less land cultivate, to a higher extent, only maize, which does not acquire pesticides and does not generate any specific income. Proper PPD is not available, the storage sites are highly hazardous, and pesticides for household purposes are often re-packed and sold in non-original containers. Professional spray men, together with the farmers, mainly conduct application of pesticides. Poisoning with agro-chemicals is not believed to be a major health problem, compared to other types of injuries or diseases, for farmers in this study. Due to economic constraints the use is limited in volume and time. However, the handling practices is a potential hazard for the farmers and their families, and the usage is likely to increase. Abstrakt: Sedan man började använda kemiska bekämpningsmedel och gödningsmedel inom jordbruket har livsmedelsproduktionen ökat dramatiskt. Användandet av kemiska bekämpningsmedel är ett arbetsmiljöproblem för jordbrukare över hela världen, men användandet möter speciella problem i låg- och medelinkomst länder. 80 % av Etiopiens befolkning arbetar inom jordbrukssektorn. Hälsoriskerna med att förvara, hantera och applicera bekämpningsmedlen beror bland annat på kemikaliernas klassificering, rutiner för hantering...
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