Health hazard exposure and healthcare-seeking behavior among child farmers in the livestock farms in Bukidnon, Philippines

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Romulo Fernandez Nieva Jr


Child agricultural work is a global phenomenon. Children account for up to one-third of the global agricultural labor force.  While  working,  they  are  exposed  to  the  same  hazards  as  adults  that  may  yield  various  health problems. A cross-sectional study was carried out to describe the health hazard exposure and health-seeking behavior among child livestock farmers. One hundred purposively-sampled rural children were interviewed in Bukidnon, the Philippines. Sociodemographic data was described using frequency and percentages. Mann-Whitney and Spearman correlation  were  employed  to  determine  association  of  socio-demographic  variables  and  levels  of  health  hazard exposure.

Most of respondents (92%) were aged 12 and older. More than half (60%) were male and more than two-thirds (76%) were attending school.   Most  of  them  had  been  working  in  the  farm  for  5  years.  Findings indicated that the livestock farming activities among these child workers varied; while some were involved in high-risk livestock farming activities, such as administering vaccines to livestock, others were involved in less risky activities, such as feeding and disposing animal wastes. Age (p=0.004), sex of the child (p=0.001), sex of household head (p=0.0019), and  household  size  (p=  0.002)  predicted  the  level  of  health  hazard  exposure  among  child  farmers.  As  to  health consequences,  data  revealed  that  these  included  multitude  of  health  problems  such  as  fatigue,  cough,  strain,  and parasitism.  Furthermore,  the  results  highlight  the  largely  self-treatment  and  informal  relational  healthcare-seeking behavior  among  child  workers in  response to  the  health  consequences.

Strengthening  the  Information,  Education  and  Communication  (IEC)  activities  and  health  check-up camps  with  emphasis  on  improvement  and  promotion  of  health  can  help  this  vulnerable  child  farmers.  Lastly, initiating  dialogue  with  the  community  and  household  levels  to  raise  awareness  about  the  health  consequences  is crucial.

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How to Cite
Nieva Jr RF. Health hazard exposure and healthcare-seeking behavior among child farmers in the livestock farms in Bukidnon, Philippines. J Public Hlth Dev [Internet]. 2017 May 23 [cited 2024 Apr. 22];15(1):33-48. Available from:
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