Abstract

Introduction: The ready-made garment (RMG) sector is the main pillar of Bangladesh’s economy, and female garment workers are the key workers in this sector. Unfortunately, they are paid very little; in fact, their pay is among the lowest anywhere in the world. This situation makes the workers very vulnerable to different kinds of health-related problems, including malnutrition, and it also results in their having poor healthcare-seeking behavior. So, the aim of this study was to determine their nutritional status, their various kinds of health-related problems, and their healthcare-seeking behavior. 

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which purposive sampling was done. Data were collected through a structured questionnaire, and the participants’ heights and weights were measured according the guidelines provided by the World Health Organization (WHO). All data were computed and analyzed using SPSS version 16.01 software. Chi squared values were calculated to analyze the data and the prevalence rate ratio (PRR) was measured to determine the association of body mass index (BMI) with health problems. 

Results: More than half of the participants (53.67%) had various health problems, and almost half of them (43.33%) were underweight (BMI ≤ 18.5 kg/m2). Among those who were underweight, about 96% of them had one or more health-related problems in the last three months (P-value < 0.001). Their PRR was 2.59, which comprises low BMI as a risk factor for high morbidity. Among the workers who had one or more health-related problems, more than 22% of them did not go to see a doctor during their illnesses. Only about 12% of them went to qualified practitioners, and, surprisingly, 37% of those completed the prescribed treatment.   

Conclusion: The study showed that there is high morbidity among female garment workers who have low BMI values and poor healthcare-seeking behavior, factors that should be addressed by their employers and policy makers. 

Key words: morbidity pattern, garment worker, nutritional status
 
 
» HTML Fulltext    » PDF Fulltext    » doi: 10.14661/2014.801-807