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Assessment of nutritional status, socio-economic conditions and occupational health hazards of conch shell workers of bankura, West Bengal

Author: 
Mousumi Ganguly, Ankita Daripa, Malay Kumar Patsa and Arindam Ganguly
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Handicrafts are the art of creating decorative products using raw indigenous materials. Bankura has a rich cultural heritage of handloom industry and handicraft. It is world famous for terracotta temples, hand-woven textiles and exquisite craft of conch shell. The Conch is the shell of large sea snail Turbinella pyrum which lives in the Indian Ocean. Shankha is the finished product of conch shell which bears ritual and religious significance in Hindu mythology. This paper attempts to explore the nutritional status, socio-economic background and occupational health hazards of conch shell workers of Bankura. Conch shell workers numbering 88 in the age group of 19-76 years who were willing to co-operate for the study were selected by convenient sampling method. The assessment of nutritional status revealed presence of malnutrition (27.27 %) among workers. The mean height, weight, BMI and Waist/ Heap ratio of the population were 1.57 m, 52.77 Kg, 21.32 & 0.95 respectively. The age-wise distribution of the workers divulged that majority (40 %) of the males belonged to the age group of 36-45 years while most (44.45%) of the female were in the upper-age group of above 45 years. This Conch shell industry was mostly dominated by males (79.55 %). Joint family (52.27%) type still prevails in the community in which 45.46 % were medium in size. The literacy rate among conch shell artisans was 97.73 %. The economic profile disclosed that the average monthly household income (Rs. 6700) and standard of living of the workers are substandard. Common cold, musculoskeletal pain, asthma and respiratory trouble have been found to be more prevalent.

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