Publications by authors named "Yohama Caraballo-Arias"

4 Publications

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Where to Find Evidence-Based Information on Occupational Safety and Health?

Ann Glob Health 2021 01 6;87(1). Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Occupational Physician. International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) Venezuelan National Secretary; Council of Scientific Advisors American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (ACOEM); Learning and Developing Occupational Health (LDOH) Foundation. Caracas, Venezuela.

Background: Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) professionals must base their advice and interventions on evidence from science, in balance with their expertise, and with workers' and other stakeholders' values and preferences. Evidence-based professional practice is one of the remedies against misinformation creating confusion and distrust in the society.

Objectives: To present, for OSH professionals, an overview and critical considerations about concepts, strategies, and tools needed for an accurate search for evidence-based information.

Methods: Information sources have been collected and discussed as a base for a documented vision on knowledge questions, online information sources, search engines, databases, and tools.

Results: Every search should start with a carefully phrased question. To help finding a reliable answer, potential evidence-based online sources are presented. Systematic reviews and original scientific articles are regarded as primary sources. Secondary and tertiary sources are discussed, such as practice guidelines, point-of-care summaries, advisory reports, quality websites or apps, Wikipedia, quality videos, and e-lessons. To find sources, adequate use of search engines and databases is required. Examples are discussed briefly, such as PubMed/MEDLINE, Virtual Health Library, NICE, Cochrane Library, Cochrane Work, Google (Scholar), and YouTube.

Conclusions: Evidence-based practice in OSH must be stimulated, relying mainly on trusted online sources. The breadth of appropriate information sources is wider than described in most publications. Search engines facilitate the finding of quality reports, videos, e-courses, and websites. Such sources can be explored by well-trained professionals to complement the use of scientific articles, reviews, point-of-care summaries, and guidelines. Adequate use of online information sources requires awareness, motivation, and skills in professionals and educators. To date, the quality of skills in searching is low, thus a more adequate education is crucial. The quality of sources, search engines, and databases will be considered more thoroughly in another study. International collaboration is profitable and needs new drivers.
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January 2021

Working in Venezuela: How the Crisis has Affected the Labor Conditions.

Ann Glob Health 2018 09 25;84(3):512-522. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

Mundo Ocupacional C.A., VE.

Background: Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world, is facing the worst economic, social and political crisis in its history; which has notably affected the quality of life of the workforce and the entire population.

Objectives: Identify and analyze the main social factors derived from the Venezuelan crisis, which are affecting the workers' health and working conditions.

Methods: Document study. Several sources of information from the last twenty years were consulted, ranging from public statistics and reports, newspaper articles, and results of scientific research. The information gathered was carefully studied to ensure that only reliable sources were used to ultimately reach valid conclusions.

Results: Both workers from the formal and informal sector and their families are struggling to fulfill their basic needs. Low salaries and soaring inflation have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the purchasing power of the people. General violence and high prices of basic goods are some of the major problems affecting workers both inside and outside of their working environment. Being a formal employee is no longer a guarantee for an acceptable quality of life. As a result, over 1.6 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015 in a migration crisis never seen before in Latin America.

Conclusion: Quality of life and wellbeing of most of the Venezuelan population has being deteriorated in the last 5 years and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is not a priority for enterprises in the middle of the economic emergency and general deterioration of daily life.Despite the relevance of this problem, research on the subject is very limited. Recent and pertinent data is needed to properly identify and measure the risks and negative consequences that workers and families are exposed caused by the ongoing crisis.
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September 2018

Occupational Safety and Health in Venezuela.

Ann Glob Health 2015 Jul-Aug;81(4):512-21

Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and the Associate Venezuelan Group for the Iberoamerican Cochrane Network Foundation Learning and Development on Occupational Health (LDOH), Caracas, Venezuela. Electronic address:

Introduction: Venezuela has pioneered a preventive-focused and comprehensive movement for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in Latin America. However, despite being an oil-rich country, it has some of the lowest salaries for their workers and highest levels of hyperinflation, devaluation, crime, and violence of the world.

Objectives: Review the current status and challenges on relevant aspects of OSH in Venezuela.

Methods: Review of literature and documents from national governments, UN agencies, NGOs, and the Venezuelan government concerning OSH and related topics since 1986.

Results: Reformed in 2005, the Organic Law on Prevention, Conditions and Environment (LOPCYMAT) was a fundamental moment of change for OSH. Factors which have impacted OSH the strongest are (i) the creation of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (INPSASEL) and (ii) the socioeconomic crisis Venezuela is going through. Venezuela's laws are innovative and yet non-compliance is enormous. Almost half of the population works in the informal sector. Following the International Labor Office projections, 5 people die per day in Venezuela due to occupational accidents or diseases, making health and safety at work a luxury rather than a right. The quality of life for the average worker has deteriorated, affecting not only health but the overall well-being of all Venezuelans. The political and socio-economic situation has led to a mass exodus of more than 1.6 million highly qualified and talented professionals. Many statistics concerning OSH are not updated and are unreliable regarding occupational accidents and diseases.

Conclusions: There is a substantial difference between what is written to protect individual Venezuelans in the workplace and the reality of workplace conditions. Substantial governmental actions are needed in the immediate future to improve occupational safety and health of Venezuelan workers.
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December 2016

Geographical and occupational aspects of leptospirosis in the coffee-triangle region of Colombia, 2007-2011.

Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov 2015 ;10(1):42-50

Committee on Zoonoses and Haemorrhagic Fevers, Asociacion Colombiana de Infectologia (ACIN), Bogota, DC, Colombia.

Background: There are few studies occupationally profiling as well as using Geographic information system (GIS) to map human leptospirosis. There are no detailed, municipality-level, epidemiological maps in Colombia neither in South America. We developed such maps for the Coffee-triangle region, Colombia and assess some occupational issues.

Methods: surveillance cases data (2007-2011) were used to estimate the annual incidence rates (cases/100,000 population) of leptospirosis to develop the first maps of disease in the 53 municipalities of the Coffee-triangle region of Colombia. GIS used was Kosmo(®) 3.1. Five thematic maps were developed according to municipalities and years. Using labor official information, analyses between agriculture (harvested areas) with disease occurrence was done (linear regression).

Results: Between 2007 and 2011, 786 cases were reported (77.8% from one department, Risaralda), for a cumulated rate of 32.18 cases/100,000 population. The highest rate was reported in the less developed municipality of one department (Pueblo Rico, Risaralda) with 1535.05 cases/100,000 population (187 cases, 2009). Armenia (Quindio department capital city), reported 23.41 cases/100,000pop (2011). In those patients with identified occupations, 33.3% were agriculture workers, finding a significant relationship between the number of cases in 2008 and the harvested area by municipality (r(2)=0.48; p=0.0083).

Conclusion: one of the 53 municipalities contributed with almost a quarter of the cases. Agriculture was significantly associated with the incidence. Use of GIS-based epidemiological maps allow to focus actions in prevention and control for risk zones for leptospirosis which still represents a significant issue in the region and Colombia, particularly in agriculture workers.
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February 2016