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The Prevalence and Risk Factors for Musculoskeletal Disorders among School Teachers in Botswana | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2329-6879

Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs
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Research Article

The Prevalence and Risk Factors for Musculoskeletal Disorders among School Teachers in Botswana

Patience N Erick* and Derek R Smith

School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia

*Corresponding Author:
Patience N Erick
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine
University of Newcastle, 10 Chittaway Road
Ourimbah, New South Wales, 2258, Australia
Tel: +61 431 429 954
Fax: +61 (02) 4348 4013
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: August 08, 2014; Accepted date: September 16, 2014; Published date: September 19, 2014

Citation: Erick PN, Smith DR (2014) The Prevalence and Risk Factors for Musculoskeletal Disorders among School Teachers in Botswana. Occup Med Health Aff 2:178. doi:10.4172/2329-6879.1000178

Copyright: © 2014 Erick PN et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: Although musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are one of the prolific reasons for decreased productivity at work due to increased sick leave, absenteeism and early retirement in the teaching profession; scant epidemiological data exists concerning teachers in developing countries. The work tasks of teachers often involve a wide variety of duties and responsibilities that may be carried out under unfavourable working conditions, especially in developing countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence, risk factors and impacts of MSD among school teachers in Botswana. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among school teachers in seven randomly selected education regions in Botswana. Data were collected using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire, which consisted of three parts, to gather information on MSD, demographic, work-related, physical and psychosocial factors. Chisquared tests and logistic regression analysis were performed to analyse the data. Results: The prevalence of MSD at anybody site in the previous 12 months was 83.3%. Upper back, shoulder and neck MSD were common and reported at similar rates, (52.6%, 52.5% and 50.8%, respectively), followed by MSD of the ankle/feet (37.8%), knee (33.8%) and wrist/hands (30.7%). The least reported MSD was those of the hips/thighs (18.2%) and elbows (13.3%). Among individual factors, female gender and age were associated MSD. Previous injury was associated with all body site MSD. Physical factors, rapid physical activity and awkward arm position were positively associated with MSD. Among psychosocial risk factors, high psychological job demands were associated with MSD. Regular physical exercise, high supervisor support, and teaching at secondary schools were negatively associated with MSD. MSD caused some teachers to reduce their activities at home, while some were unable to work for several days, and others needed to seek medical attention because of pain. Conclusion: Overall, this study suggests that MSD is reasonably common among school teachers in Botswana, particularly at body sites such as the shoulder, upper back and neck. The complex nature of MSD risk factors found in this study suggests than no single specific preventative or intervention strategy will help in reducing MSD among teachers. Therefore, to help reduce the prevalence, progression, and burden of MSD among Botswana teachers, a greater emphasis should be placed on ergonomics education, regular physical exercise and occupational stress.


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