Prevalence, risk factors and effects of work related musculoskeletal disorders on nurses in Fako division, Cameroon
Background: Work related musculoskeletal disorders [WMSDs] represent a significant occupational health problem among nurses. Its high prevalence is mainly associated to risk factors like repetitive job tasks and labour intensive activities. However, data on the musculoskeletal health of nurses in SubSahara Africa are sparse. WMSDs could affect quality of life, reduce work productivity, increase sick leave, shorten working life and cause chronic occupational disability; they constitute a major health challenge for individuals and healthcare systems.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, risk factors and effects of work-related musculoskeletal disorders [WMSDs] among nurses from selected hospitals in Fako Division, Cameroon.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 154 nurses in Buea and Limbe Regional hospitals, Mt Mary hospital, CDC cottage and Regina Pacis hospitals. A multistage sampling method was used and data was collected using a self-administered Questionnaire. The study was conducted over a period of three months. Chi-square tests were performed to establish the association between categorical variables.
Results: A total of 154 participants were recruited. The prevalence rate of WMSDs at any given body region was 76.6%. Majority were females 130[84.4%].WMSDs occurred mostly in the lower back [68.2%], neck [54.5%] and the upper back (47.4%). Working in the emergency/accident wards (p=0.003) and surgical ward [p=0.042], working for less than five days but more hours in week [p= 0.010] and not taking enough rest breaks during working shift (p=0.045) were seen to be associated with WMSDs. In this study, 50.0% of nurses reported that WMSDs slowed down their activities at work and resulted in decrease in efficiency of nursing care rendered 15 [37.5%]; absenteeism 5 [12.5%] from work was reported as another effect of WMSDs.
Conclusion: We had a work related musculoskeletal disorder rate of 76.6%, with the lower back being the most affected region. The risk factors included lifting of patients and heavy objects, working in same positions for long hours, odd positions, lack of breaks at work and heavy work load. The disorders decreased the activities of the affected participants and increased their absences from work.
Key words: Prevalence, musculoskeletal disorders, risk factors, nurses