OBJECTIVES: The misuse of pesticides among farmworkers in Nepal is commonplace. To address this, we implemented a pilot educational intervention (three modules delivered over 3 days and lasting approximately 3 h each) in Kavre District of Nepal. Modules included: (i) health and environmental effects of pesticides, (ii) use of personal protective equipment, and (iii) label literacy and behavioral factors that influence pesticide exposure. In addition, 10 posters with key messages from each of the modules were hung throughout communities.
METHODS: Surveys were administered to cross-sectional convenience samples of farmworkers at baseline (n = 106) and 1 year later (n = 98). Practices relating to pesticides at baseline and endline were compared using multivariable logistic regression to adjust for differences in demographic and socioeconomic characteristics between the samples.
RESULTS: Compared with the baseline sample, farmworkers in the endline sample were significantly more likely to report: getting information regarding the amount of pesticides to use from experts or pesticide labels (versus personal judgment); wearing gloves while mixing pesticides; wearing boots while working in the field; using personal hygiene practices after handling pesticides such as bathing or washing hands and feet; changing clothes after handling pesticides; checking the wind direction before spraying; and delaying entry for a longer period of time after spraying.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that a simple educational intervention can improve pesticide handling practices among farmworkers in Nepal. Future research should explore the impact of such interventions on pesticide exposure levels and health outcomes, and the potential to scale up these programs nationally.
- developing countries
- health education
- occupational exposure