About 23,182 people died of stroke and ischemic heart disease in Bangladesh as a result of working 55 hours or more a week in 2016.
The number of deaths in 2016 was an 84% increase from 2000, as about 12,607 people died in the country that year.
In 2016, about 14,821 people died from stroke and 8,361 from heart disease in Bangladesh due to working long hours. Although the number of deaths from heart disease decreased by 16% between 2016 and 2000, the number of death from stroke increased massively by 461% in the country during the time.
This was mentioned in the findings of a recent study on loss of life and health associated with working long hours, carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which was published in the journal named Environment International on Monday.
The Head of Epidemiology and Research Department of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh Prof Dr Sohel Reza Choudhury said "It is difficult to lead a healthy and a quality life due to long working hours as it may lead to diabetics, hypertension and heart diseases."
"When workload increases in an institution, it becomes necessary to work overtime. So, in this situation, employers should ensure a healthy working environment, such as facility of gyms, mental peace and, most importantly, a healthy meal for the employees."
The study showed that globally 7,45,000 people died from stroke and heart disease due to long working hours in 2016 and people living in South East Asia and the Western Pacific region were the most affected.
Deaths due to long working hours in Bangladesh grew highest in South Asia
Though long working hours killed 2,01,837 people in India in 2016 with a 47% increase since 2000, Bangladesh experienced the highest growth (84%) in South Asia.
Following India, about 3,594 people died in Afghanistan in 2016, a 42% increase since 2000.
The study showed the Maldives recorded a 9% decrease in deaths due to long working hours from 2000 while Pakistan recorded a 35% increase, Nepal 32%, Bhutan 30% and Sri Lanka 21%.
Per lakh deaths from stroke in Bangladesh also highest in South Asia
About 13.17 people per one lakh population died of stroke due to long working hours in Bangladesh in 2016 while 12.37, 9.2 and 9.01 people respectively died in Nepal, Pakistan and India.
Only 2.61 people per one lakh population died in the Maldives in 2016. For Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bhutan the figures are 7.5, 7.84 and 8.21 respectively.
Longer working hours killing more men
In 2016, about 6,555 men and 1,806 women died of ischemic heart disease while 10,387 men and 4,433 women died of stroke due to longer working hours in Bangladesh.
These stats clearly say that a significant portion of the dead people is men. The scenario resembles that of the global scenario.
"This work-related disease burden is particularly significant in men (72% of deaths occurred among males)," according to the study.
The study considered data from 37 studies on ischemic heart disease covering more than 7,68,000 participants and 22 studies on stroke covering more than 8,39,000 participants. It covered global, regional and national levels, and was based on data from 2,324 cross-sectional surveys collected from 154 countries from 1970-2018.
Estimates have been disaggregated by age group and sex for a particular country, however, the study did not include profession wise causalities.
"Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard," said Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, at the World Health Organisation.
"It's time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death", she added.
The study concludes that working 55 or more hours per week is associated with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week.