Health Hazards Related to Computer Use: Experience of the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania
This paper is based on a study conducted in 2006 to assess the impact of computer usage on health of National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) staff. NIMR being a research Institute, most of its staff spend substantial part of their working time on computers. There was notion among NIMR staff on possible prolonged computer usage health hazards. Hence, a study was conducted to establish facts and possible mitigation measures. A total of 144 NIMR staff were involved in the study of whom 63.2% were males and 36.8% females aged between 20 and 59 years. All staff cadres were included in the sample. The functions performed by Institute staff using computers includes; data management, proposal development and report writing, research activities, secretarial duties, accounting and administrative duties, on-line information retrieval and online communication through e-mail services. The interviewed staff had been using computers for 1-8 hours a day and for a period ranging from 1 to 20 years. The study has indicated ergonomic hazards for a significant proportion of interviewees (63%) of various kinds ranging from backache to eyesight related problems. The authors highlighted major issues which are substantially applicable in preventing occurrences of computer related problems and they urged NIMR Management and/or the government of Tanzania opts to adapt their practicability.
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