Multi-approach model for improving agrochemical safety among farmers in Pathumthani province, Thailand / Buppha Raksanam = รูปแบบการให้ความรู้แบบบูรณาการเพื่อความปลอดภัยในการใช้สารเคมีทางการเกษตรกรรมของชาวนาในจังหวัดปทุมธานี
Objectives 1) To evaluate the knowledge, beliefs and behaviors regarding agrochemical safety among rice farmers 2) To develop a model for improving farmer’s health and preventing them from agrochemical hazards. 3) To evaluate the effectiveness of the model of interventions associated with improving agrochemical safety among farmers in the Khlong Seven community in Pathumthani province, Thailand over the period October 2009 to January 2011. Methods Quantitative and qualitative data collections were divided into two phases. Firstly, a cross-sectional study: 482 rice farmers were randomly recruited. Secondly, a quasi-experimental study: fifty rice farmers from Khlong Seven Community (study group) and fifty one rice farmers from Bueng Ka Sam community (control group) were randomly recruited. The mean change in scores of the four variables of knowledge, belief, behavior, home pesticide safety assessment, and community participation regarding agrochemical safety were measured. Intervention involved in a combination of home visits and community participatory activities regarding agrochemical safety. Results Phase: Farmers had a neutral level of total belief regarding agrochemical use. They had neutral levels of perceived susceptibility, benefits, and barriers on agrochemical safety. The belief concerning the perceived of severity of agrochemicals was high (positive belief).They had a moderate level of total behavior regarding agrochemical safety and a moderate level of healthy personal care behavior. However, the level of use of personal protective equipment was low. Health risk behaviors regarding agrochemical exposure in the study area were mainly caused by the misuse of pesticides including the erroneous beliefs of farmers concerning pesticide toxicity, lack of attention to safety precautions and the use of faulty protective gear. Phase 2: After six months of the intervention program, there were significant improvements in the overall scores on knowledge, belief, behavior, the home’s pesticide safety assessment, and community participation regarding agrochemical safety in the study group (p<0.05). There were no significant improvements in all total scores for the control group (p>0.05). Conclusion Therefore, this intervention model appeared to be effective in improving agrochemical safety among the Khlong Seven Community rice farmer participants. To sustain the intervention, it is necessary to work collaboratively with the community partners and local authorities. However, this model can be applied to other vulnerable groups, and variation across regions should be concerned. For further study, biomarker assessments should be concerned.