Heavy metal exposure and symptoms of respiratory infection among children under-five (5) residing near an open dumpsite: a cross-sectional study at Abokobi

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September, 2019
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The purpose of the study was to assess the prevalence of self-reported symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infection(ARI) defined as Acute Upper Respiratory Infection (AURI) and Acute Lower Respiratory Infection(ALRI), the levels of toxic metals in biological media (blood), and hand washed water among children under five (5) residing near Abokobi dump site in the Ga-East Municipality. Participation in the study was voluntary; based on that, a population of 200 children under five (5) and their parents residing within 200meters around the dumpsite were recruited as participants for the study. Descriptive statistics was used to present data. It came out that, the proportion of self-reported symptoms of acute upper respiratory infection (AURI) and acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) was high in all children respectively. Cadmium was high in children aged 0-2years than 2-4 years and Lead was the same in ages 0-2years and 2-4 years in biological media (blood). Lead was the same in ages 0-2 years and 2-4 years while Cadmium and Mercury were high in Ages 2-4 years than ages 0-2 years in the handwashed water. There was significant association between residual levels of Arsenic in blood samples and symptoms of AURI. Similarly there was significant association between residual levels of Cd and symptoms of ALRI. However, there was no significant association between residual levels of the other toxic metals in blood samples and symptoms of AURI and ALRI. The study therefore recommended Parents should ensure regular medical checkup for children who live close to dumpsites for detection of symptoms of diseases to avert any health risk they may be exposed to. Ministry of Health should intensify public education on good practices in child care to avert the development of preventable diseases such as acute respiratory infections. The Ministry of Local Government through the Ga-East Municipal should create awareness on proper waste management practices. Finally, Local Government Ministry and the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources should permanently ban or prohibit the use of the dumpsite.
This dissertation is submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master in Environment and Public Health Degree.
Respiratory infection, children under-five, Abokobi