Morocco: Health conditions of fishermen worrisome, Calls for responsiveness
Dr. Ghailan Tarik has divulged that health situations of fishermen and drugs addictions amongst them, are increasing, particularly in the northern part of Morocco, as he stresses the need for support to avert the situation.
The Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation Among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, acronym ATLAFCO, seminar on health and safety standards for persons employed in fishing operations, is underway in Tangier, Morocco.
On first day of the Tangier Seminar, Dr. Ghailan Tarik, President, Doctor of Seafarers of Moroccan Society of Maritime Medicine presented on the topic: Fisherman, a particular worker: approach to occupational health and safety of seafarers.
In his presentation, he noted that infections of Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are rampant, saying that many fishermen ‘do not use condom’ while having sex, thus making many of them prone to contract STDs.
The president added that in the northern Morocco, some of the fishermen lack knowledge, and as a result, their attitudes of using condoms while having sex is low.
Giving statistics on some of the sexual activities happening in northern Morocco regarding fishermen, Dr. Tarik revealed that 26 percent of the sex cases happen with sex workers, 60 percent were not protected and 42 percent never used a condom; while 15 percent use it regularly. He added that only 17 percent did not have a dermatosis.
On smoking addictions among fishermen, Dr. Tarik, in making comparison between Morocco and Spain, disclosed that in Morocco, 68.1 percent are addicted to smoking, and 81.2 percent in Spain- quoting (T.Ghailan 2008 and P. Nogueroles & Col 2006). He revealed that in northern Morocco, they cultivate cannabis.
Still on the fishermen, he went on to say that alcoholism in Morocco accounts 19.2 percent, and in Spain it's 74.9 percent; for cocaine and heroin, in Morocco 5.9 percent uses it, and 7.9 percent for Spain.
Dr. Tarik also stated that Shisha smoking- water-pipe is now common in Moroccan fishermen, adding that they smoke with their families and friends, which has now become fashion for them. He noted that Shisha smoking is now increasing, adding “Shisha smoking is rising in Morocco—it has become fashion???.
He explained that Shisha smoking – also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking – is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube. The tube ends in a mouthpiece from which the smoker inhales the smoke from the substances being burnt into their lungs.
Dr. Tarik stated that in 2016, statistics had shown that 5.6 percent of them smoke Shisha. These figures have increased as figures in 2018 had shown that in Morocco, 7.5 percent of the fishermen now smoke Shisha.
On prevention and on how addiction be reduced, he suggested that trainings, information sharing and awareness raising campaigns would all be helpful to avert the situation.
In conclusions, he reminded his audience that marine fishing sector is becoming high risk for health workers as the occupation is exposed to serious diseases and fatal STDs and drugs addictions of seafarers also becoming a problem.
Mamadou Edrisa Njie