Prevalence and factors associated with acute occupational lung disease among Cotton Ginnery workers in Katete District

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Sinzala, Martha
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The presence of byssinosis among workers in cotton ginneries has been well documented in studies from several countries.However, no studies had been performed among cotton workers in the Eastern Province of Zambia. In view of this, a cross sectional study design with 151 sample elements, drawn from Dunavant Ginnery in Katete, was employed. The main purpose of the study was to find out the prevalence of byssinosis among cotton ginnery workers. A survey questionnaire and lung function tests were conducted by a trained technician using a spirobank G spirometer. At the time of the study, the workers were employed in five departments and just about half n= 77 (51.1%) were involved in carding with 48.1% involved in other jobs. The longest a worker had served the company was 180 months or fifteen years and the least was barely one month.Out of the 151 workers, only 50 workers (33.1%) did not experience any symptoms of byssinosis. A greater number suffered from chest tightness and/or shortness of breath on most of first days back at work and on the first and other days of the working week. However, 76 (50.6%) of the workers showed a reduction in one symptom over the weekends and an increase in another within the week. Using the generally accepted World Health Organisation (WHO) (1983) criteria, this study found evidence for byssinosis among cotton workers with the highest prevalence of among those who at the time of the study had been engaged in carding, blending, and cleaning processes. The prevalence of byssinosis among cotton workers was 67%. Lung functional tests showed a peculiar trend of decline from day one today four in this sample under study. Of the four lung function tests, Forced Expiratory Volume per second (FEVs) and Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) showed more consistent reduction changes. However, all lung function tests were not significantly associated with work induced byssinotic symptoms. It can, therefore, be concluded on the basis of the study that byssinosis occurs in cotton workers particularly in those who are exposed to high concentrations of dust for a longer period especially in unmanaged and unprotected working environments. The study recommends the provision of protective clothing, environmental hygiene and periodic medical examination at two yearly intervals to identify those who ultimately will have to leave the industry because of progressive symptoms.
Lung Disease , Respiratory Distress , Lung Diseases