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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803

Abstract

ACOSTA, Graciela et al. Social and Demographic Aspects of Child Workers Requiring Treatment at a Reference Hospital. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2012, vol.39, n.2, pp.107-111. ISSN 1683-9803.

Introduction: Child labor has historical antecedents in Paraguay, but there is a current tendency towards growing participation of children and adolescents in formal and informal work settings. Objective: To determine the social and demographic characteristics of child workers presenting at the Hospital Nacional de Itagua. Methodology: We conducted a cross-sectional, descriptive, observational, and temporally prospective study that included children from ages 5 to 16 years who required medical care at a quaternary hospital during the months of June, July, and August of 2010. Results: We included 48 children with a mean age of 12 years from 20 different cities, some 45.2% were from the central department of Paraguay, while 60.4% (29 of 48) of the study population reported being engaged in regular schooling. The average age at which they began working was 8.5 years; the 75% of the population were 9 years. Those employed as unpaid family workers (56.3%; n: 27), those privately employed (27.1%; n: 13), and those who performed own-account work (16.7%; n: 8) predominated. No significant differences were observed between male and female children; however, differences were observed in occupational category, with 76% of girls in unpaid family work, while among boys private employment (43.5%) predominated. Among those of working age, the most common occupational category was unpaid family work (60.1%), while those below working age were equally likely (40%) to be own-account workers or unpaid family workers. Of the total, 77.1% seek medical care for causes other than work-related injuries. Conclusion: Due to the particular characteristics of this population, comprehensive medical attention for working children presents a special challenge to our healthcare system.

Keywords : Minors; employment; child labor; adolescents; children.

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