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Table 2 Research on health vulnerabilities in the RMG sector: based on mixed methods

From: Health vulnerabilities of readymade garment (RMG) workers: a systematic review

Author(s) & Year of publication (Country) Title Methodology/purpose Theme/focusing point Findings/outcomes Limitations Quality grading
De Silva et al. 2013 [32]
(Sri Lanka)
Health status and quality of life of female garment workers in Sri Lanka Mixed-methods.
Sample size: 1058 (female only).
Used structured questionnaire.
Respondents were selected randomly.
4 FGD (each consists 6 respondents).
Used Stata to carry out tabulations.
To understand the quality of life and the health problems of the female garment workers. Reported health vulnerabilities issues:
(a) Presence of musculoskeletal problem: 15.5%
Common symptoms of musculoskeletal problem:
Back pain (57.3%), Pain in knees (31.7%), Shoulder (9.1%), Neck (6.7%).
(b) Headaches: 7.6%
(c) Work related injury/accidents: 5.6%
(d) Respiratory problems: 3.4%
(e) Dermatological problem: 2.2%
(f) Emotional abuse: 0.5%
Exclusion of male respondents was not explained.
The causes of health vulnerabilities were not exposed in this study.
Lombardo et al., 2012 [17] (Sri Lanka) Musculoskeletal symptoms among female
garment factory workers in Sri Lanka
Cross sectional study.
Sample size: 1058 (quantitative), & 24 for FGD (qualitative) (female only).
1st phase: FGD of 4 groups (each group consists of 6 female workers).
2nd phase: primary data was collected from 1058 female garment workers who were randomly selected for interviewing using a self-administered questionnaire.
Descriptive statistics were calculated, bivariate & multiple logistic regression analysis was done.
To assess the presence of musculoskeletal symptoms among the respondents & to find the correlations between these symptoms and socio-demographic factors of the respondents. Prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among the respondents: 16%.
Common symptoms (affected body area):
Back (57.3%)
Knees (31.7%)
Shoulders (9.1%)
Hand & wrist (7.3%)
Neck (6.7%)
Forearm & elbow (3%)
Causes of musculoskeletal symptoms: Increased age, job tenure, & work nature (i.e. long standing position while working).
Male workers were excluded. Strong
Saha et al., 2010 [9]
Health status of workers engaged in the small - scale
garment industry: how healthy are they?
Cross-sectional study.
Sample size: 112.
Male: 86.
Female: 26.
Used semi-structured questionnaire.
2 FGDs (each consisted of 9 respondents) were also conducted.
To explore the relationship between morbidity profile, socio-demographic & occupational factors with musculoskeletal disorders. Prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms (chief complaints) among the respondents: 69.64%.
Affected body area: Neck (64.10%), Low back (41.03%).
Common symptoms: Pain (69.23%), Weakness (38.46%).
Causes: Bad working environment, remaining in a bent position for long time, ill ventilation, poorly illuminated room.
Other health problems: Malnutrition (37.50%), Acidity & heart burn (26.79%), Skin diseases (25%), Insomnia (21.43%), Hypertension (16.07), General weakness (14.29%), Problems with vision (12.05%).
• Stress, especially among the female workers, is another rising & alarming problem.
Although the title of the article gives the impression to focus on the overall health status of the workers, this piece of work predominantly pointed out only musculoskeletal problems of the workers Strong