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1.  Low back pain among school teachers in Botswana, prevalence and risk factors 
Background
Although low back pain (LBP) represents a common occupational problem, few epidemiological studies have investigated the prevalence and risk factors for LBP among school teachers, particularly in Africa. School teachers are known to represent an occupational group among which there appears to be a high prevalence of LBP. The objective of this study was, therefore, to conduct one of the first epidemiological investigations of LBP among teachers in Botswana.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted among teachers in Botswana using self-administered questionnaires which were distributed to 3100 randomly selected school teachers and collected over a five-month period between July and November 2012. The questionnaire included low back pain information, demographic data, lifestyle, work-related characteristics and psychosocial factors. Data were analysed using Chi-squared and logistic regression models. The 12 month prevalence and LBP disability and associated risk factors were also analysed.
Results
A total of 1747 teachers returned completed questionnaires, yielding a response rate of 56.3%. The 12-month prevalence of LBP was 55.7%, with 67.1% of them reporting minimal disability. The results of logistic regression analysis revealed that female gender [OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.14-2.00] and previous back injury [OR: 9.67, 95% CI: 4.94-18.93] were positively correlated to LBP. Awkward arm position [OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.24-2.62] and high psychological job demands [OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.02-1.93] were also significantly associated with LBP. Regular physical exercise was negatively associated with LBP [OR: 0.63, 95% CI: 0.43-0.93]. Female gender [OR: 2.67, 95% CI: 1.52-3.99] and previous back injury [OR: 3.01, 95% CI: 1.92-4.74] were also positively associated with LBP disability.
Conclusion
The prevalence of LBP appears to be high among school teachers in Botswana. A wide variety of LBP risk factors were identified in this study. Female gender and previous injury were both associated with LBP presence and disability. The complex nature of LBP risk factors found in this study suggests than no single specific preventative or intervention strategy will help in reducing these conditions. As such, to help reduce the prevalence, progression and burden of LBP among Botswana teachers, a greater emphasis should now be placed on ergonomics education, regular physical exercise and occupational stress.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-359
PMCID: PMC4230345  PMID: 25358427
2.  Prevalence of tobacco smoking among school teachers in Botswana 
Tobacco Induced Diseases  2013;11(1):24.
Background
Tobacco is a leading cause of death worldwide, and nearly 80% of all smokers live in low to middle income countries. Previous research has suggested that smoking rates vary by occupation, with relatively low rates commonly seen among educators. Despite this fact, little is known about the smoking habits of teachers in Botswana. The objective of this study, therefore, was to investigate prevalence and correlates of tobacco use among school teachers in Botswana.
Results
The prevalence of smoking among school teachers in Botswana was found to be relatively low. Of the 1732 participants in the study, only 3.2% reported being current smokers, 5.3% were ex-smokers and 91.5% had never smoked. Smoking was more common among male teachers when compared to females, being 10.8% and 0.4%, respectively. Factors such as school level, marital status and body mass index were found to be positively associated with tobacco smoking, whereas age, length of employment and weekly working hours were not.
Conclusion
This study suggests that Botswana school teachers have a low prevalence of tobacco smoking. While this result may be attributed to tobacco control measures that have been put in place, there is still need to put in place systems to monitor compliance and programs to help those who want to quit smoking. Such protocols would represent a major step forward in further reducing the prevalence of smoking in the education profession.
doi:10.1186/1617-9625-11-24
PMCID: PMC4220795  PMID: 24283758
3.  A systematic review of musculoskeletal disorders among school teachers 
Background
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) represent one of the most common and most expensive occupational health problems in both developed and developing countries. School teachers represent an occupational group among which there appears to be a high prevalence of MSD. Given that causes of MSD have been described as multi-factorial and prevalence rates vary between body sites and location of study, the objective of this systematic review was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for MSD among teaching staff.
Methods
The study involved an extensive search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases in 2011. All studies which reported on the prevalence and/or risk factors for MSD in the teaching profession were initially selected for inclusion. Reference lists of articles identified in the original search were then examined for additional publications. Of the 80 articles initially located, a final group of 33 met the inclusion criteria and were examined in detail.
Results
This review suggests that the prevalence of self-reported MSD among school teachers ranges between 39% and 95%. The most prevalent body sites appear to be the back, neck and upper limbs. Nursery school teachers appear to be more likely to report suffering from low back pain. Factors such as gender, age, length of employment and awkward posture have been associated with higher MSD prevalence rates.
Conclusion
Overall, this study suggests that school teachers are at a high risk of MSD. Further research, preferably longitudinal, is required to more thoroughly investigate the issue of MSD among teachers, with a greater emphasis on the possible wider use of ergonomic principles. This would represent a major step forward in the prevention of MSD among teachers, especially if easy to implement control measures could be recommended.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-260
PMCID: PMC3250950  PMID: 22087739

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