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What Ails the Fishermen Community in Ennore Creek: A Socio - Demographic Analysis
Background/Objectives: Fishing communities are socially, economically and educationally disadvantaged. Their settlements are characterized by overcrowding with extremely poor sanitation. Information about the socio – demographic profile of these communities is essential to address the felt needs of this community. The aim of this study is to explore the socio – demographic profile of the fishermen community residing at Ennore Creek in East Coast of India. Methods/ Statistical Analysis: A cross sectional study was done among the fishing community in Ennore Creek of North Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The cluster sampling method was adopted and 30 clusters were randomly selected by the probability Proportionate to Size (PPS) method. The structured questionnaire was used to collect information regarding the socio – demographic details about the selected study participants and other family members. The study population included individuals who are living in the nine fishing wards of Ennore Creek for the minimum of six months period. Data entry and analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the variables. Findings: In the 780 families with 3542 individuals it was found that about 60.6% lived in semi pucca houses, 100% of the households had electricity, 88.3% of the households had improved drinking water supply, 64.4% of the households had improved sanitation facility, 35.6% of the households practiced open air defeaction, 64.2% of the households had clean fuel for cooking and 12.2% of the households had health insurance. Population below the age of 15 years was 1110 (31.3%), adult population (15–49 years) was 1919 (54.2%) and 254 (7.2%) were above 60 years of age. Number of males to females was 1815 (51.2%): 1727 (48.8%) were females Male literacy was found to be 52.1% while the female literacy was found to be 47.9%. With regard to occupation, 30.5% were fishermen, 27.9% were fish vendors and 22% were involved in non fishing jobs. A sizeable segment (80.1%) of the adults aged between 15–49 years was married. Men (15–49 years) who got married before the age of 21 years were 27.8% and women (15–49 years) who got married before the age of 18 years were 36.4%. It was found that 54.1% of the participants hailed from nuclear families, 60.1% of them had the family size more than four and 65.1% of them belonged to the category of low standard of living. In this community it was found that the current users of any form of tobacco (smoked/chewed/snuffed) were 58.5% while the current consumers of alcohol consumption were found to be 65%. Application/Improvements: The settlements and environment of fishermen community is bereft of basic infrastructure, water supply, sanitation, public services and access to healthcare. Low literacy rates, practice of early marriages, declining income from fishing activity and hence inclination to seek non-fishing jobs, prevailing lower socio – economic status, rampant and indiscriminate use of tobacco and alcohol are the salient features that prevail among the fishermen community of Ennore Creek. Health education and health promotional activities to increase the awareness on the hazards of tobacco use, alcohol consumption, importance of environmental hygiene, hazards of open air defecation, importance and benefits of education especially female literacy should be provided to bring about a change in this community.
Environmental Hygiene, Ennore Creek, Fishermen Community, Socio Demographic Profile.
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