_: Western Cape Government Health celebrated the continuation of its commitment to improving access to Health services with a graduation ceremony for 68 newly qualified Community Care Workers on Farms on 12 August 2013.
The farm health project, which was piloted in the De Doorns area in 2009, has grown from strength to strength with basic health services now available to farm workers in the De Doorns, Witzenberg and Stellenbosch areas. The project’s goal is to establish points where farm workers can access basic healthcare by training an existing farm worker in home-based care. The focus of the training is prevention and promotion, adherence and support and home-based care for incapacitated patients.
The Community Care Worker, once trained, remains employed by the farm and is further supported by local health services, such as a mobile sister and the clinic closest to the farm. Many farmers have made space available on their farms where patients can at certain times of the day visit the health worker. A number of basic services are available, the health worker ensures that the farm worker on chronic medication and /or TB treatment uses it correctly and regularly, that patients who are bed-ridden due to illness receive the necessary care, food and medication and advises the farm workers on general and occupational health.
In his keynote address Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, stated that one of the primary goals of our government in the Western Cape is to create opportunities and to ensure that everyone has equal access to these opportunities. “By creating opportunities in health, we create a healthier society. This initiative that empowers community carers on farms to look after people working on farms, speaks strongly to the creation of opportunities.”
“It is also important for our government to redress the imbalances of our past. Projects must be for people who have been disadvantaged and strive to create a service delivery platform where everyone has an equal opportunity for success.”
Minister Botha said that when government and the public meet their responsibilities, we are better together. “Government offers the service, and patients should adhere to the medicine schedule. Personal responsibility is necessary to ensure a healthy outcome.”
One of the highlights of the event was the testimony of Portia Dudumashe, who started out in the Farm Health Programme, but has since furthered her education by gaining a further qualification as a Post-Basic Pharmacy Assistant. She is currently working in the Witzenberg area. Ms Dudumashe said: “I really want to thank the department for the wonderful opportunities that they have offered me. You have changed my life.”