Effectiveness of Community-Based Intervention Model For Reducing Pesticide Risk Behaviors Among Farmers Living in Rubber Farming Areas, Southern of Thailand
The large-scale use of pesticides has raised environmental and human health concerns. Specific intervention strategy for improving pesticide safety among rubber farmers in Southern of Thailand is lacking. The objectives of this study were 1) to develop a model in order to improve rubber farmers’ health and prevent them from being exposed to pesticide hazards, and 2) to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in terms of pesticide safety behaviors. This study was conducted between October 2013 and January 2015. Changes in the mean scores of pesticide knowledge, health beliefs, pesticide use behaviors, and in-home pesticide safety were measured. Knowledge of pesticide use constitutes a basic knowledge of pesticides and pesticide safety behaviors. Health beliefs constitute perceived susceptibility, severity, benefits, and barriers to using pesticides. Pesticide use behaviors include self-care practices in terms of personal health at specific times including before spraying, while spraying, during storage, transportation, waste management, and health risk management. Seventy-one Khokyang rubber farmers were randomly recruited with support from community leaders. The participants were involved in a combination of home visits such as pesticide safety assessments at home and community participatory activities regarding pesticide safety. The study results revealed that health risk behaviors regarding pesticide exposure in the study area were mainly caused by lack of attention to safety precautions and the use of faulty protective equipment. After the intervention program showed significant improvements in the overall scores on knowledge, beliefs, behaviors, and home pesticide safety in the study group (P < 0.05). Therefore, this intervention model is effective in improving pesticide safety behaviors among the rubber farmers in this. These findings demonstrate that model for reducing pesticide risk behaviors among farmers living in study areas can lead to sustainable prevention of pesticide hazards for rubber farmers. Biomarker assessments in pesticide residues should be concerned for further study.
Keywords - Rubber Farmer, Pesticide Safety, Community-Based Intervention, Model