Predictors of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders among Primary School Teachers in Machakos County, Kenya
Ndawa, Ancent Ndonye
Nyamari, Jackim Matara
Ireri, Anthony Muriithi
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Background: Musculoskeletal disorders refer to a broad range degenerative and inflammatory conditions that affect the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, nerves, and the localized blood circulation systems. Despite there being significant literature about musculoskeletal disorders among teachers in other parts of the world, Kenya lags behind in research. The current studies point out to high workloads and stress levels among primary school teachers because of an increase in the teacher-pupil ratio. The objective of this study was to explore the prevalence as well as person and work-related predictors to musculoskeletal disorders among Kenyan primary school teachers in Machakos County. Methods: This study adopted a cross-sectional design to collect data from 302 randomly selected teachers. Data was collected using a questionnaire and an observation checklist. It was analyzed using chi-square and logistic regression analysis and expressed as odds ratio. Results: The prevalence at any site of the body was 85.10% with lower back, knees, neck, and ankles being the most affected body sites at 58.60%, 57.6%, 53.3%, and 53% respectively. The least affected body part was the elbows at 25.2%. The positively associated risk factors were age, teaching for over four hours while standing, teaching for over four hours while sitting, working on a head-down posture, and lack of back support on chairs. MSDs prevented teachers from carrying their normal activities with lower back trouble topping in this respect at 23.8%. Conclusion: Generally, this study reveals that musculoskeletal disorders are very common among primary school teachers in Machakos County, Kenya. Among the recommendations is the need to regulate the number of lessons per teacher, number of pupils per class, and provide chairs and benches for teachers among others.