Agriculture Workplace Wellness Programme Takes Root

BY SUPPLIED - MARCH 9, 2015

Three new farms in the Sundays River Valley region have joined the AIDC EC Wellness Programme which is improving the lives of Eastern Cape farm workers.

Nine hundred workers from San Miguel Farm, Habata Boedery and Penhill Farms have joined the programme which provides workers from 18 farms with world leading wellness as well as HIV&AIDS information, resources and support.
 
A key feature of the programme is the appointment and training of peer educators or farm employees, who ensure that wellness is addressed on the farms in a sustainable and professional manner.
 
San Miguel Farm, Habata Boedery and Penhill Farms grows the reach of the programme and adds to the network of 18 existing farms.

In cooperation with Luthando Farm, SRFT (Sundays River Farming Trust) and SRCC (Sundays River Citrus Company), the AIDC EC last year facilitated comprehensive Health Risk Assessments on five farms in the Sundays River Valley. Representing a total of almost 600 farm workers, the farms are passionate about improving health and wellbeing of their workforce. 

Workplace Wellness Programme Manager Arnelle Heynes said 90% of workers at contracted farms chose to take part in the Wellness Days, and more than 70% volunteered to take an HIV test to know their status. Each worker is invited to see a nurse who could offer several health tests including: HIV Counselling and Testing, TB Screening, Glucose and Blood Pressure Measurement as well as BMI (Body Mass Index).

Farm workers and management are convinced that Wellness Days are essential services to their workforce. “We are aiming to achieve a 100% uptake, so that each worker can know their status and take responsibility of their lives.” says Zelda van Tonder, Accreditation and Training Coordinator at SRCC.
 
Workers expressed their appreciation on being provided with the opportunity to access health services within their reach and have promised to share the information in their communities, Heynes said.
 
Heynes said wellness was becoming an  increasingly pressing ethical and business priority.  “The AIDC EC understands, as do farms in the Sundays River Valley, that wellness is not only a critical social responsibility but that wellness is directly linked to productivity, quality and staff morale.’’