A study of common causes of mortality among Fishermen in Lake Victoria, Kenya

Opemo D.O. , Aloo P.A., Arudo J.A., Mbithi J.N.

Opemo D.O[1], Aloo P.A[2], Arudo J.A[3] , Mbithi J.N[4]  

  1. Department of Biological sciences, Kenyatta University.
  2. Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, Karatina University.
  3. Department of Advanced Nursing Studies, Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya
  4. Department of Biochemistry.

Corresponding Author: Aloo P.A, Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, Karatina University. P.O Box 1957-10101, Karatina., Kenya Email:aloopenina@yahoo.com


The fishing industry in Kenya plays an integral role in the  socio-economic development of Kenya. However, the working environment of fishermen is characterized by a wide variety of occupational hazards and mortality attributed to work related diseases or accidents and injuries, which, are poorly reported. Most of the reported cases are in the formal sector, while the informal sector such as fishing, where most people are employed, are largely ignored. The objective of this study was to determine the causes of mortality and identify factors that influence mortality among fishermen in Lake Victoria. A two-year retrospective mortality survey using verbal autopsy was carried out among fishermen in eight riparian districts of Lake Victoria in Kenya. The study successfully followed up a total of 3058 deceased fishermen. The mean age at death was 33 years (SD: ± 9.5) and a median of 32 years ranging between 15 – 54 years. Peak mortality reported among fishermen aged 25 – 29 years (19.8%) and 30 – 34 years (19.3%) was comparable. The findings revealed that the major causes of death were HIV – related infections (33.8%) followed by drowning (14.3%), pulmonary tuberculosis (12.4%), and malaria (10.4%).  Results of this study show that there is an urgent need to identify strategies that would prevent HIV – related infections and drowning among the fishing community.

Afr J Health Sci. 2014; 27(1):19-29]

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