Department of Occupational and Environmental Health

This project is being led by Dr. Saloshni Naidoo, with Simphiwe Mnyaiza having worked as the project co-ordinator.

While there is a considerable amount of research on reproductive health issues amongst women, health outcomes among women in relation to their occupation have not been sufficiently researched or understood. This is an interventional study, which is conducted in three phases. In the first two phases of the study data will be collected to identify the occupational health needs of women working on small-scale farms in rural South Africa. The results of the focus groups found that women have some knowledge about pesticides and the safety practices required to protect themselves from adverse health effects. Despite this knowledge women experience pesticide related health effects and in the presence of economic constraints are unable to protect themselves from pesticide exposure. Dissatisfaction with health care services in the area result in women using home remedies for pesticide related illnesses.

Based on the findings appropriate interventions will be developed, implemented and evaluated in the third phase of the study. This study is funded by the South African Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANAPAD) over the next three years. Collaborators on this study are the Department of Occupational Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Environmental and Occupational Health Division at the University of Utrecht, and the Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam in the Netherlands. 

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