Effects of Head-Loading in Sub-Saharan Africa
Monitoring Device to Help us Understand the Health Implications of Headloading Amongst Women and Children in Sub-Saharan Africa
Across Sub-Saharan Africa, women and children play an almost ubiquitous role as pedestrian load transporters, in the widespread absence of basic sanitation services (notably water pipes), electricity (for cooking and heating) and cheap, regular motorised transport. In most regions the majority of pedestrian loads – which commonly include water and firewood for domestic purposes – are carried on the head. This has implications not only for school attendance and performance, women’s time budgets and gender relations, but also arguably for health and associated well-being.
The use of women and children for pedestrian transportation of goods in Africa will be extremely difficult to eradicate in our current carbon-constrained World, hence it is extremely important that we understand its effect on health and for those who do head-load to make sure it is done in as safe a manner as possible.
Key Engineering Solutions went to Ghana as part of a multi-disiplinarary team to measure the effects of head loading. The results were very interesting, and further research is underway.