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Health impacts of pedestrian headloading : a review of the evidence with particular reference to women and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Porter, G. and Hampshire, K. and Dunn, C. and Hall, R. and Levesley, M. and Burton, K. and Robson, S. and Abane, A. and Blell, M. and Panther, J. (2013) 'Health impacts of pedestrian headloading : a review of the evidence with particular reference to women and children in sub-Saharan Africa.', Social science & medicine., 88 . pp. 90-97.


Across sub-Saharan Africa, women and children play major roles as pedestrian load-transporters, in the widespread absence of basic sanitation services, electricity and affordable/reliable motorised transport. The majority of loads, including water and firewood for domestic purposes, are carried on the head. Load-carrying has implications not only for school attendance and performance, women's time budgets and gender relations, but arguably also for health and well-being. We report findings from a comprehensive review of relevant literature, undertaken June–September 2012, focussing particularly on biomechanics, maternal health, and the psycho-social impacts of load-carrying; we also draw from our own research. Key knowledge gaps and areas for future research are highlighted.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Africa, Load-carrying, Gender, Pain, Biomechanical, Transport, Psycho-social, Maternal health.
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Social Science & Medicine. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Social Science & Medicine, 88, 2013, 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.04.010.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:03 March 2014
Date of first online publication:July 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

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