Occupational-Respiratory Diseases

Occupational-Respiratory Diseases

Occupational-related health issues and injuries have gained prominent attention from various agencies in recent years. Occupational disease arising mainly from exposure to risk factors in the work environment has multiple causes, effects, and costs. Besides affecting productivity due to cases of absenteeism from sick workers, other costs include insurance premiums to protect employees from exposure to occupational diseases as well as medical expenses paid directly for the treatment of sick employees. Concerning occupational health conditions, this paper gives an epidemiological review of the surveillance of occupational respiratory diseases in developing nations.

Though epidemiological data on the burden of chronic diseases worldwide is scarce in most countries, Antao and Pinheiro (2015) posit that the cost of occupational respiratory infections has been on the rise in most countries. For this reason, Antao and Pinheiro are critical on the need to conduct surveillance to observe and monitor occupational respiratory diseases (Antao, & Pinheiro, 2015). To tackle occupational respiratory conditions, there is a need for high alert, with developing countries being at high risk due to the lack of well-developed health care infrastructure to deal with these conditions. Surveillance will help to check the link between risk factors and health outcomes. The information obtained from this surveillance will be critical informing response mechanisms to deal with the problem. Having explored the risk of occupational respiratory diseases in five countries; China, India, Brazil, Cuba and South Africa, Antao and Pinheiro (2015) posit that early diagnosis with standard tests, existing resources and technology offers the best mechanism of dealing with the problem.

Worldwide, occupational exposure has been found to contribute to 12% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths and 12% of asthma mortalities. Fourteen thousand deaths pneumonia deaths worldwide have been associated with occupational risk exposure. In the United Kingdom, statistics indicate that 5.3% of all cancer deaths in 2005 was a result of occupational risk exposure. For this reason, it is crucial that surveillance systems be put in place to monitor and address the increasing costs of occupational respiratory diseases.

Concerning the strength and limitation of the data used to arrive at the results and discussion in the article, Antao and Pinheiro mainly used secondary data to inform their recommendation on how surveillance could be done in the countries studied as well as other countries. In this regard, therefore, the strength and limitation of the figures quoted in the article depend on the accuracy and objectivity of the sources utilized by the researchers. Nevertheless, the relevance of the data employed in the study does not negate the fact that occupational respiratory diseases have been on the rise worldwide.

Given the damning statistics concerning the prevalence of occupational-health diseases or rather infections that due to exposure to risk factors in the workplace environment, I think it is essential for various agencies both governmental and non-governmental to come up with policies that regulate screening, dressing and handling of patients, for instance, to address infection among health care workers. Other possible remedies that can be used to address occupational respiratory diseases include the need to monitor the quality of air in manufacturing facilities, the codification of problems associated with addressing occupational predisposing factors for purposes of continued research and having standardized reporting indicators that can be used to detect infections. Risks associated with exposure to certain minerals such as asbestos and silica needed to be expounded and employees trained on how to handle it. Last but not least enhancing of first aid capability can help to prevent some of the infections.



Antao, V. C., & Pinheiro, G. A. (2015, June). Surveillance for occupational respiratory diseases

in developing countries. In Seminars in respiratory and critical care medicine (Vol. 36, No. 03, pp. 449-454). Thieme Medical Publishers.