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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 96-100

Dealers in black gold: Knowledge attitude, and practices among fecal sludge operators in Bengaluru, Southern Karnataka

1 Department of Community Medicine, Father Muller Medical College, Mangaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. B Ramakrishna Goud
Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bangalore - 560034, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_148_20

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Background and Objectives: Fecal sludge management (FSM) is an unorganised sector, which is wrought with occupational health hazards for fecal sludge operators (FSOs). This study was conducted to identify the knowledge, attitude, and practices regarding FSM among FSOs. Study Setting and Design: This cross-sectional study was conducted in a rural area of Anekal Taluk, Bengaluru Urban District, Karnataka and in Hosur, Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu. Methods and Materials: Snowball method of sampling was employed and, 60 participants were interviewed using an interviewer administered semi-structured questionnaire. Statistical Analysis: The data has been described using measures of central tendency, frequencies, and percentages. Results: All 60 participants were males with a mean age of 33.7 ± 7.9 years. Majority practised Hindu religion (98.3%) and 95.0% belonged to the scheduled castes; only 3.3% were illiterate. According to modified SLI, 45.0% belonged to high standard of living. The common occupational hazards reported were injuries, social stigma, and alcoholism. Although 91.7% felt that personal protective equipment (PPE) would protect against health hazards, 65.0% felt that it hampered work. Most (86.7%) felt that FSM was attached to social stigma. None reported the use of the full set of required PPE. All participants reported washing their hands and feet with only water at the end of each operation. Conclusion: The knowledge and practices followed by the FSOs were found to be inadequate in this study. Health awareness generation and provision of PPE must be employed to ensure sustained behaviour change.


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