Influence of Menopause on Work Productivity among Health Workers in Public Hospitals in Kiambu County, Kenya.
Wamaitha, Mwangi Edith
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Menopause is a normal process in women marked by a reduction in estrogen and progesterone levels and eventual cessation of menstruation. Despite many studies on menopause, influence of menopause on work productivity and performance are poorly documented. The main objective of the study was to examine the influence of menopause on work productivity among health workers in public hospitals in Kiambu County. The specific objectives were to (i) To determine menopausal symptoms presented by health workers in public hospitals, (ii To established the influence of menopause on work productivity among health workers and (iii)To identify menopause coping strategies adopted by health workers in public hospitals in Kiambu County. The study adopted a cross-sectional study design constituting 239 women aged 40-60 years in menopause as the study group and 239 women aged 40-60 years and not in menopause as control group. The study used mixed-methods approach; Simple random sampling was used to select study respondents while purposive sampling was employed in selecting 20 key informants. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from the study respondents while an interview guide was used to interview key informants. Descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation, chi-square and regression analysis were used to analyze the quantitative data collected while thematic analysis of qualitative data. Findings indicated that mean age at menopause was 48.5 years. The main symptoms presented by menopausal women were anorexia, anhedonia, lack of concentration, irritability, depression, insomnia, nervousness, muscle and joint pains, hot flushes, night sweats and loss of sexual desires. Menopause was associated with work absenteeism (χ2=21.549, p=0.001) and productivity impairment (χ2=76.979, p=0.001). Regression analysis showed that nervousness (p=0.005, df=1, OR=7.909), lack of concentration (p=.032, df=1, OR=4.608), breathing difficulties (p=0.010, df=1, OR=6.587) and anorexia (p=0.09, df=1, OR=6.880) increased work productivity impairment. The main coping strategies adopted by women in menopause were taking time off work, writing notes to avoid forgetting, joking about symptoms, talking to other women, cooling their bodies by allowing more fresh air in the room, double checking their work and negotiating more flexible work hours. In conclusion, menopause symptoms presents with differing severity among women. Menopause impairs work productivity and increases work absenteeism. There is need for work places to adopt measures for supporting menopausal women to improve work productivity and to mitigate its adverse effects particularly, recognizing menopause as a workplace issue. This requires organizations to develop and institutionalize appropriate policies and staff support programs to support women during menopause transition and improve their work productivity.