Health-seeking behaviour of commercial bus drivers in Uyo, Nigeria.

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Author: Ofonime Johnson
Date: Sept-Dec 2020
From: Port Harcourt Medical Journal(Vol. 14, Issue 3)
Publisher: Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,970 words
Lexile Measure: 1540L

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Byline: Ofonime. Johnson

Background: Commercial driving is a highly demanding job which often exposes the drivers to different health problems necessitating treatment. Various treatment options are available to these drivers. The objectives of this study were to assess the health problems and health-seeking practices of commercial bus drivers in Uyo, Nigeria. Methodology: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out in March, 2020. Data collection was done using an interviewer-administered semi-structured questionnaire. Analysis of data was carried out with IBM SPSS Statistics, version 20.0. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05. Results: A total of 121 male respondents participated in the study. The mean age of respondents was 40.45 [+ or -] 10.49 years. More than half 71 (58.7%) respondents had completed secondary education. The most common health problems reported by respondents were low back pain (55.4%), insomnia (55.4%) and body aches (52.1%). The usual sources of treatment were chemist (60.3%), herbal remedies (51.3%), health facility (25.6%) and self-medication (17.4%). Among 32 (26.4%) respondents that ever had fractures, 23 (71.9%) received treatment from bone setters. Care seeking in health facility as reported by the drivers was mainly influenced by treatment cost (43; 35.5%) and waiting time (23; 19.0%). Conclusion: Commercial drivers in this study obtained treatment more frequently from places outside the health facilities. Health education on advantages of expert medical consultations and treatment in health facilities should be carried out through their transport unions. Furthermore, mechanisms to reduce waiting time and treatment cost in health facilities should be explored for this group of workers.

Introduction

The road transportation system in Nigeria accounts for over 90% of mobility of individuals, with commercial road transport accounting for about 432 million tons of freight movement by road per annum.[1] This reliance on public transportation makes operators of commercial vehicles an important component of the socioeconomic development.[2] As a result of the high demands of their job, commercial bus drivers are vulnerable to various health hazards.[3] Studies among occupational drivers in different regions have reported high prevalence of musculoskeletal pain, particularly low back pain.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] The factors that contributed to such pain included prolonged sitting, poor postures, long driving time and few hours of sleep, exposure to whole-body vibration, heavy lifting, manual materials handling, poor diet or other psychosocial factors.[9],[10],[11] Another study also found the prevalence of hypertension among bus drivers to be as high as 36%.[12] Visual dysfunction has also been reported in studies.[7],[13] Occupational diseases reported in a survey of 400 male professional drivers in Nigeria included myalgia (88%), hypertension (22.5%), renal tubular acidosis (13%), short sightedness (10.3%), upper respiratory infections (5%) and sexually transmitted diseases (STD; 3.8%).[14] Studies in Sagamu and Lagos, Nigeria, have reported that about three quarters (78.3%, 74.3%) of commercial drivers have multiple sexual partners.[14],[15] This practice increases exposure to STD among this occupational group.

With the various health conditions identified among professional drivers, health-seeking behaviour is an important issue to consider. Health-seeking behaviour refers to actions by a person in the setting of perceived...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A656645792