Erik Jørs

Erik Jørs, Clinic of Occupational Medicine OUH

Background

Pesticide poisonings are of public concern due to an increasing pesticide use in low income countries. Statistics are poor but millions of occupational poisonings are reported from farmers handling pesticides, while accidental and self-inflicted poisonings are fewer but usually more serious. It is estimated that around 3.000.000 are seriously poisoned every year of which around 200-300.000 die from pesticide poisoning. At the same time pesticides are found in drinking water and food documenting an ongoing pollution of the environment and a possibility for consumer poisonings and long term effects. One of the actions taken from the international society to control poisonings and pollution has been training of farmers in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) promoting less use of pesticides, increased use of ecological methods and a better protection when using pesticides.  Results have been positive and even increasing income has been shown but still diffusion of IPM has not occurred as expected. The reasons might be lack of sufficient extension services in low income countries, illiteracy among farmers finding IPM difficult to learn and practice, strong influence by the pesticide industry, easier visibility of advantages from pesticides than IPM among others.

Objectives

  1. ‘To describe the risk factors and frequency of pesticide poisonings among Bolivian small-holder farmers’.
  2.  ‘To evaluate the effect of an intervention on Integrated Pest Management to lower pesticide use and improve personal protection among trained farmers’.
  3. ‘To evaluate the possibility for diffusion of Integrated Pest Management from trained farmers to neighboring farmers and other farming communities’.

Methods

Data collection takes place as a part of the Plagbol Project in La Paz County in Bolivia among farmers and agronomists. The tools used are interviewer guided validated questionnaires, observations, blood tests and Focus group discussions. Data are entered and analyzed in SPSS using sound statistical methods. For the Focus group data Roger’s theory on diffusion of innovation is adapted. Permission to conduct the research was given in Bolivia and all participants signed and informed consent before entering the study.

Time schedule

The study started august 2010 as a part time study with finishing date the 1. of august 2016. The thesis will probably be submitted before the end of 2015. Data collection took place from 2002 to 2013 as part of the Plagbol project, coordinated by the phd student. So far five studies are planned to be used in the thesis of which three studies has been published and two in the review process

Supervisors

Main supervisor is Gabriel Gulis, Institute of Public Health, Unit for Health Promotion, SDU

Co-supervisors are Flemming Konradsen, Public Health, Unit for Global Health and Jesper Bælum, Clinic of Occupatinal and Environmental Medicine, OUH.

 Link to dissertation as pdf

Erik Jørs, MD, MIH, AMK OUH 25/8-15

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