The effect of a knowledge-based ergonomic intervention amongst administrators at AGA Khan University Hospital, Nairobi
Wanyonyi, Nancy Eileen Nekoye
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Lack of adherence to the correct working conditions exposes workers to ergonomics-related hazards and eventually work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMDs) which are estimated at 160 million per year globally. Literature shows that with modernization by use of computers, administrators are exposed to prolonged sitting and long working hours which predisposes them to ergonomic hazards. Low back pain and neck pain are the leading work-related musculoskeletal disorders with a lifetime prevalence of 70 - 80% and 50 - 60% respectively.Both low back pain and neck pain have a multifactorial aetiology that includes work-related and individual related factors. Lack of reporting of work-related injuries has led to paucity of statistical literature with regards to work-related low back pain and neck pain, especially in the developing countries. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of ergonomics related low back pain and neck pain, and describe the effect of a knowledge-based ergonomic intervention among administrators in Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi (AKUH, N). A mixed method design was used in this study using a survey and two focus group discussions(FGD). A self-administered questionnaire that is in four sections was administered to 208 participants. The questionnaire sought the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders, the knowledge of participants with regards to low back pain and neck pain as well as the work-related and individual risk factors related to the same. The dissemination of the study results involved a one hour knowledge-based ergonomic session given to all interested participants, based on the information from the survey. Two FGD with purposive selection of eight participants were held to explore their experience on the value of the information provided.The statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20 was used to capture and analyze the quantitative data. Descriptive statistics was used to summarize the study findings in the form of means, frequencies, standard deviations and percentages. Inferential statistics (chi-square) was used to test the associations between different categorical variables (p<0.05). For the qualitative data, the tape recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim, field notes typed, sorting and arranging data was done and themes were generated. Thematic content analysis was used to generate the themes. The aim of the study, confidentiality and the participants‘ freedom to withdraw from the study were explained. Informed consent was also obtained before the survey and FGD and referral was made where necessary. The findings of the current study revealed that the study participants were knowledgeable about ergonomics-related low back pain and neck pain however this knowledge was not directly translated into behaviour. Low back pain (LBP) had the highest twelve month prevalence at 75.5% followed by neck pain at 67.8%, and LBP showed significant associations at p< 0.05 with some work-related and individual risk factors. The results of the FGDs showed that most participants had positive behavioural and attitudinal change post the knowledge-based ergonomic intervention despite the challenges they met in implementing the behavioural change. These results therefore show the need for continual education about ergonomics to create awareness on the predisposing factors to work-related LBP and neck pain, hence promoting a healthier quality of life amongst employees through adherence to healthy work behavioural practice.