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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 255-260

Health problems and healthcare-seeking practices of workers processing E-waste in the unorganized sector in the slums of a South Indian City: An exploratory study


Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sapna Mishra
Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.ijoem_65_22

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Context: The precarious nature of the work in the unorganized e-waste processing sector poses a threat to workers' health by making them vulnerable to occupational injuries as well as other work-related diseases in addition to job insecurity and related issues. Aims: To systematically explore and quantify employment and working conditions along with the occupational health problems and healthcare-seeking practices of workers processing e-waste in the slums of a south Indian city. Settings and Design: Cross-sectional study conducted in the slums of a south Indian city. Methods and Material: We used a structured interview schedule among 248 randomly selected workers. Statistical Analysis Used: Descriptive statistics were utilized to summarize the results. 95% CI was calculated for select proportions. Chi-square tests were used to determine statistical significance. Results: We found a predominance of self-employment; unclear employment relationship; no paid holidays; long working hours; unequal wages; absence of work-related social security; absent workers' organization; rented units; minimal/no use of safety equipment, no concept of good ergonomic practices. The commonest occupational health concerns were injuries (17% & 41% respectively) and musculoskeletal problems (43.5%). Private/charitable clinics were the commonest source of seeking healthcare which contributed to 'irrational' practices in the form of repeated TT injections. Conclusions: Findings suggest that the precarious work in the unorganized e-waste processing sector could not only give rise to health problems but also make workers undermine the severity of their health problems. The non-responsiveness of the local public healthcare system compels them to rely on private and charitable clinics and pay for services that are otherwise freely available in UPHCs.






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