Health Assessment of Mining Activities on Concession Communities in the Nimba County: Republic of Liberia

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Health Assessment of Mining Activities on Concession Communities in the Nimba County: Republic of Liberia

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Title: Health Assessment of Mining Activities on Concession Communities in the Nimba County: Republic of Liberia
Author: Farngalo, Eddie Miaway
Abstract: Globally, nearly 13 million people are presently involved in iron ore and other mining activities while 80-100 million are indirectly affected by these activities. Iron ore mining alone produces about one billion tonnes in 2013 worldwide. Currently, the world had discovered an iron ore reserved of about 230 billion tons (Bt) that may be available for nearly 50 years. Small scale mining serves as a source of employment for more youth where mineral deposits originate. Despite its environmental, health and social challenges, it is established that the adverse effects of mining activities on communities in close proximity are mixed with both positive and negative consequences. The main objective was to assess the public health adverse effects in the mining communities in terms of their health characteristic, levels of heavy metals in water sources, and on affected communities. The study was conducted from July to September, 2014. The number of sample from each community was calculated using probability proportional to size (PPS), while purposive and simple random sampling were employed in selecting the affected communities and household heads respectively. A structured questionnaire was administered to households‘ heads that had lived in the studied areas for two or more years and were 18 years and above, and has consented to participate in the research. Water samples were analysed at the Nuclear Chemistry and Environmental Research Centre, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission in Accra for heavy metals (Cd, As, Hg, Pb), total dissolved solids, and pH. xii Reference standards used were those of the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for drinking water, which was used to determine the level of heavy metals in water bodies. Logistic regression statistical analysis was employed in drawing inferences on the probably health effects of the mining activities on the ten communities. Twenty nine per cent of the respondents was within the age group of 41-50 years while 24.7% falls within the ages between 31-40 years. Malaria prevalence was high among both the household heads and other members with 81.6% of household heads and 80.9% of other household members reported to have experienced the disease over the past 12 months. The average household size was 3 members above 18 years and 4 children summing to seven (7) people per house respectively. There was a statistically significant association between having a household size ≥7 and experiencing the malaria disease (adjusted odds ratio=1.40, p-value=0.003). Heavy metals such as As, Hg and Pb were above the WHO permissible levels in Zolowee (As=0.064, Hg=0.0285mg/l) and Liabala (Pb=0.064mg/l). Averagely, the underground water sources had higher than WHO acceptable levels in terms of Arsenic (0.0022mg/l), Lead (0.008mg/l), Hg (0.0071mg/l) and Arsenic (0.051mg/l) for surface water. Average pH level (6.47) in the community was slightly alkaline. The results gathered indicated that there was a high prevalence of malaria while water sources within the communities are polluted with some heavy metals (As, Hg, and Pb).
Description: A Thesis Submitted to the Department Of Community Health, School Of Medical Sciences, College Of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree in Health Services Planning and Managament
Date: 2015-02-13

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