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Child Labour, Health and Education in Aqua Culture Areas

Purpose of this study was to estimate prevalence of child labour in aqua culture industry and health effects of child labour participation, if any. A cross sectional survey of 5-15 year old children was done in the study area. Nellore and Srikakulam districts, known to have active aqua culture industry were chosen for selection of study area. A cluster of habitations with at least 2000 population from among those known for intensive aqua culture activity was selected from each of the two study districts. Altogether five habitations, with 945 households and 4653 population were studied. 77% of the 1214 children in the target age group were covered. Information about children participating as labourers in aqua culture industry and a comparison group of non participating children was collected through household survey, medical examination, non participant observation of the aqua culture work by children, focus group discussions with mothers of working children and community leaders. The study found that between 32-69% children in the respective villages were participating in the aqua culture industry. Almost all children above 10 years from both sexes in all habitations covered by this study participate in one or other form of work for wages. About 50% of children suffer from severe to moderate protein calorie malnutrition. Anemia, vitamin B complex deficiency, intestinal worms, dental carries, scabies, otitis media, and tonsillitis are other common childhood morbidities in the study area. But there was no significant difference in health status of child labourers and other children. Enrollment in primary school was about 60%. The study author pondered about possible causes of the child labour participation, under enrollment in schools, health problems among children and suggested remedial measures. The study, sponsored by the UNICEF’s Hyderabad office[1], was started in October 1999 and report[2] prepared by August 2000.

[1]Special Service Agreement No.SSA/INDG/99/00000060-0, dated 27-28 Sep 1999, Funding code GC/98/603-1

[2]Chalapati Rao PV, Mahapatra Prasanta, Padmavathi A. Child labour, health and education. A study on children residing near acquaculture units in Andhra Pradesh. IHS Report Series 2000(RPIII/2000):1-71.


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