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Health of farming communities prior to modification of the occupational environment through a watershed development project in Kolar, India

Pradyumna, Adithya and Farnham, Andrea and Utzinger, Jürg and Winkler, Mirko S.. (2021) Health of farming communities prior to modification of the occupational environment through a watershed development project in Kolar, India. Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 25 (2). pp. 84-90.

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Abstract

Background: Watershed development (WSD) projects, aimed primarily at enhancing soil and water conservation and supporting livelihoods in semi-arid areas, have the potential to impact health by modifying the occupational and household environments in agrarian communities. To identify and address potential health concerns arising from a planned WSD project in Kolar district, India, a health impact assessment (HIA) was conducted. This necessitated understanding the health status and concerns in the project villages. Objective: To characterize the health of farmers and their household members in close proximity of the planned WSD project. Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional survey between April and July 2019. The study comprised: (i) a household survey covering the four project villages and two comparison villages (e.g. socio-demographic characteristics, occurrence of vector-borne diseases (VBDs), access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and utilization of healthcare); and (ii) an anthropometric survey for children under the age of 5 years in the four project villages and four comparison villages. Results: Respondents (n = 333) reported household-level occurrences of VBDs (chikungunya, 3.3%; and dengue, 1.5%), consuming unsafe water (54.5%) and frequent pesticide application in fields (26.7%). The prevalence of child underweight was 23.8%. Conclusions: VBDs, poor water quality and child undernutrition were found to be important local health concerns, amenable for preventive and promotive measures through the planned WSD project. Occupational environments in agricultural settings affect the workers and their households, and comprehensive projects such as WSD can seize the opportunity for improving health of farming and other rural households.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
UniBasel Contributors:Pradyumna, Adithya and Farnham, Andrea and Utzinger, Jürg and Winkler, Mirko
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Medknow Publications
ISSN:0973-2284
e-ISSN:1998-3670
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:13 Jul 2021 09:04
Deposited On:13 Jul 2021 09:04

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