A study of the health profile of rubber plantation workers in rural Kerala





health hazards, occupational morbidities, non-communicable diseases


Background: The state of Kerala produces nearly 90% of India’s natural rubber output. Rubber plantation workers are vulnerable to a variety of health hazards and being in the unorganized sector, do not enjoy the benefits that their counterparts in organized sector enjoy. Hence, monitoring of their health needs to be done periodically.

Aims and Objectives: 1. To assess the health status and common illnesses of rubber plantation workers. 2. To detect the prevalence of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension among rubber plantation workers.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted amongst 154 rubber plantation workers in Pathanamthitta District in the state of Kerala, India in September 2014. Data was collected using a predesigned pretested and semistructured questionnaire containing items to assess the socio-demographic profile, their medical history and individual hazard exposure. Data was analysed in SPSS Version 16.

Results: Chemical exposure was the most common hazard reported by rubber plantation workers (70.1%). The most common health complaints were musculoskeletal (66.2%), respiratory (31.2%), dermatological (26.6%) and ophthalmological disorders (22.7%). 20.1% prevalence of diabetes and 29.9% prevalence of hypertension was detected among study subjects; awareness and treatment seeking behaviour was poor.

Conclusions: Proper health and safety training of rubber plantation workers on workplace hazards and ergonomics is essential to reduce work-related morbidities. Efforts should be made to enhance their access to healthcare and provide periodic health checkups.

Asian Journal of Medical Sciences Vol. 7(3) 2016 103-107


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How to Cite

Nair, T. S., Garg, S., & Singh, M. M. (2016). A study of the health profile of rubber plantation workers in rural Kerala. Asian Journal of Medical Sciences, 7(3), 103–107. https://doi.org/10.3126/ajms.v7i3.13288



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