The Bokone Bophirima Department of Health in partnership with AgriAIDS, none governmental organization with interest on the health of farm workers, on Friday, 23 September 2016 engaged farmers and farm workers on health issues affecting the farming community. The engagement was held at Rothman Boerdery farm just outside Brits town.
The engagement was part of the broader departmental strategy of expanding health services to groups like farms that do not have fixed health facilities. The strategy received a major boost from Rothman Boerdery with announcement of building a clinic. The envisaged clinic will help more 700 Rothman Boerdery farm workers and those from neighboring farms. According to Jeanie Rothman, Human Resource Manager at Rothman Boerdery, plans for a clinic were necessitated by the fact that farm workers take time from work just to collect medication. This affect production, she said.
“We welcome efforts by the department of health and AgriAIDS to ensure that farm workers receive health services,” Rothman said. Mobile clinics visit farms regularly to dispense medication, treat patients for minor ailment, tuberculosis screening and HIV Counseling and Testing. Agriculture is the most important economic activity in the Bokone Bophirima Province. The government has given agricultural development a high priority, as its role is critically important to the overall social and economic development of the Province. Jeanette Sibasa from AgriAIDS said her organisation focuses on combating HIV/AIDS and decreasing the burden of disease from TB and non-communicable diseases among agricultural communities. Sibasa encouraged farm workers to continue using health services provided to them by both the department and AgriAIDS.
Farm worker, Locardia Mupa thanked the department and AgriAIDS for organising the outreach event. She urged farm workers to utilise health services and to lead a healthy lifestyle. Health MEC Dr. Magome Masike urged farmers and farm workers to test for HIV and screen for TB, diabetes, hypertension at least once a year. Each one of us must ensure that every member of our family does the same, he said.
MEC Masike urged farmers to work with the department by allowing access of Mobile clinics to intensify immunisation, and nutrition services to all farm workers children. We need you to encourage workers to utilise health services provide by AgriAIDS and the department through mobile clinic regularly, he said.