Currently, work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a significant public health concern and are a leading cause of disability-adjusted life years and reducing the quality of life worldwide. In developing countries including Ethiopia, there is no adequate evidence on the overall prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and it remains less prioritized and unrepresented. Thus, the current study aimed to provide the country wide prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders particularly shoulder and neck pain in Ethiopia.
This study considered the studies conducted in Ethiopia, written in English language and published from 2017–2020. The studies were searched using various electronic databases such as PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, Google Scholar, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, SCOPUS, Embase, African Index Medicus, and African Journals Online database from 16 July 2020 to 22 August 2020. The articles were searched using a Boolean logic operator (“AND”, “OR”, “NOT”) in combination with Medical Subject Heading (MeSH), terms, and keywords. Quality assessment of the studies was done using Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal tools to determine the relevance of each included article to the study.
The current study found the pooled prevalence of work-related shoulder and neck pain in the previous one year accounted 37.9% [95% CI:26.5, 50.8%; P-value < 0.001] and 29.9% [95% CI:20.1, 41.9%; P-value = 0.002] respectively. Based on the subgroup analysis, the pooled prevalence of work-related shoulder pain in the last one year based on the study population, publication year, and study region was 47.6% [95% CI: 45.8, 49.4%], 49.8% [95% CI: 45.7, 53.9%] and 44.6% [95% CI: 41.4, 47.8%] respectively while the pooled prevalence of neck pain in the last one year based on study population, publication year, and study area was 39.1% (95% CI: 37.5, 40.7%], 25.1% [ 95% CI: 20.8, 29.9%] and 32.6% [95% CI: 29.8, 35.5%] respectively.
This study found that at least one-third of the study participants were experienced occupational-related shoulder and/or neck pain in the previous last one year. The study suggests that there is a need to improve and implement occupational health and safety in the working environments to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders such as shoulder and neck pain, and other, occupational hazards.