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Morbidity and Mortality Patterns of Nigerian Petroleum Oil Refining and Distribution Industry


T. I. N.  Ezejiofor

Department of Biotechnology, School of Science,

Federal University of Technology,

 P.M.B 1526, Owerri, Nigeria



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Aimed at unraveling the nature and extent of health effects and impacts of occupational exposures in the Nigerian petroleum refining and distribution industry, this study probed the morbidity and mortality partterns of this industry using oral interviews, questionnaires responses and secondary data from the industry. Results revealed that workers of this industry suffer from wide range of disease conditions involving virtually all body organs/systems, manifesting with varied symptoms that often brought them to the industry-based plant clinic. Questionnaire responses by the staff showed that Bad eye sight (16.3%), sexually transmitted diseases (8.9%), hypertension (8.8%), musculo-skeletal health effects including chronic and intermittent back/low back pain (8.6%), neck and shoulder pain (2.7%) and chest pain (2.0%)); sleeping/relaxing difficulty (8.0%); recurring headache (6.4%); reduced hearing/noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) (6.4%); erectile dysfunction (weak erection)(5.3%); breathing difficulty (3.9%); Road transport accident (3.1%); Peptic Ulcer disease (PUD)(3%); Diabetes mellitus(2%); prostate enlargement (0.5%); Tonsil enlargement (0.1); pulmonary disease (0.1%) and renal disease (0.1%) were  some of the symptoms/diseases or complaints by the staff. Documentations at the plant clinic however, revealed that malaria/functional disorders (33.3%), respiratory disorders (13.5%), Musculo-skeletal/ Rheumatic diseases (14.0%), High blood pressure (10.9%), gastrointestinal disorders (9.1%) and Diabetes mellitus (4.1%) were among the leading clinical conditions responsible for higher clinical attendance at the plant clinic. Genito-Urinary disorder (3.3%), Eye/Visual Disorder (2.7%), ear, nose and throat Problems (1.9%), Occupational dermatitis (0.3%) and Non-Occupational Skin Disorders (2.3%) are among the reckonable entries that made the list of ailments suffered by the staff. Mortality statistics showed that a total of 79 deaths occurred within the period under review. Retroviral disease (21%) topped the list of cause of death, followed by road/water transport accidents (16.5%) and cardiac related diseases (13.9%). Virtually all body organ/system-related pathologies including those of the lungs (5.1%), endocrines (presence of diabetes mellitus (3.9%), kidneys (3.8%), liver (2.5%), blood (leukaemia 2.5%), and CNS (1.3%) contributed to the cause of death. These results indicate that oil and gas work environment predisposes to sundry health effects that might hasten staff death. This calls for a comprehensive review of the contents of the occupational health services as to guarantee total health protection for the workers of this critical sector of the Nigerian economy.


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Copyright Mary Slessor Journal of Medicine, 2012 
Last modified: 12/28/12