Porter, Gina, Hampshire, Kate, Dunn, Christine, Hall, Richard, Levesley, Martin, Burton, A. Kim, Robson, Steve, Abane, Albert, Blell, Mwenza and Panther, Julia (2013) Health impacts of pedestrian head-loading: a review of the evidence with particular reference to women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Social Science and Medicine, 88. pp. 90-97. ISSN 0277-9536

Across sub-Saharan Africa, women and children play major roles as pedestrian load-transporters, in the widespread absence of basic sanitation services, electricity and affordable/reliable motorised transport. The majority of loads, including water and firewood for domestic purposes, are carried on the head. Load-carrying has implications not only for school attendance and performance, women’s time budgets and gender relations, but arguably also for health and well-being. We report findings from a comprehensive review of relevant literature, undertaken JuneeSeptember 2012, focussing particularly on biomechanics, maternal health, and the psycho-social impacts of load-carrying; we also draw from our own research. Key knowledge gaps and areas for future research are highlighted.


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