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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 6201837, 7 pages
Research Article

Harsh Working Conditions and Poor Eating Habits: Health-Related Concerns of Female Head Porters (Kayayei) in the Mallam Atta Market, Accra, Ghana

1Department of Population and Behavioural Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Hohoe, Ghana
2Department of Demography, College of Public Policy, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
3Department of Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Hohoe, Ghana

Correspondence should be addressed to Samuel Harrenson Nyarko; moc.liamg@nosnerrahmas

Received 31 July 2017; Revised 23 November 2017; Accepted 16 January 2018; Published 13 February 2018

Academic Editor: Akito Tanoue

Copyright © 2018 Samuel Harrenson Nyarko and Abdul Majeed Tahiru. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The kaya business is known to pose significant health-related risks to female migrants. This study sought to explore the health-related concerns of female head porters in the Mallam Atta market, Accra, Ghana. Methods. A qualitative study was conducted in which twenty female head porters at the Mallam Atta market in Accra were interviewed. A thematic analysis was performed and the emerging themes were presented and supported with quotations from the respondents. Results. Poor accommodation and eating habits, harsh working conditions, and lack of knowledge about health conditions exposed the respondents to several health-related concerns like neck pains, skin rashes, malaria, cholera, and stomach ache among other infections. The popular means of seeking health care was through purchasing drugs from pharmacies or drug peddlers instead of health facilities. Financial constraints, lack of faith in the National Health Insurance Scheme, and long waiting periods at the health facilities militated against seeking appropriate health care at the hospitals and clinics. Conclusion. Political willpower needs to be strengthened for poverty reduction strategies such as training of hairdressing, dress and soap making, and shea butter processing for women from the Northern regions in order to ameliorate their livelihoods and/or reduce migration to the south.