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Updated 25 November 2015

SA truck drivers reap health benefits

A mobile health awareness initiative is making voluntary screenings more accessible truck drivers in the country. This is improving the health scores of South Africans in the truck operators industry.

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The Engen Driver Wellness is an annual initiative aimed at educating long distance truck drivers about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle whilst on the road.

Truck operators work long hours in gruelling jobs, frequently leading to imbalanced lifestyles and unhealthy choice and the driver wellness initiative would like to lower the health risks associated with truck drivers lifestyles.

Engen Group CSI and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Mntu Nduvane explains that the main aim of The Engen Driver Wellness initiative is to improve health through awareness.

Read: Truck drivers to blame for high HIV in Mpumalanga

“Education helps to remind the drivers why their health is important and how life choices impact on their well-being. Ultimately this increases their health, safety and productivity,” he says.

Trucking Wellness Programme activity

The Programme involves screening tests which range from a simple (but valuable) assessment for chronic illnesses to a complete screening for body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and HIV infection.

This can take place at Trucking Wellness’ conveniently situated venues, or at mobile clinics sponsored by Engen, to broaden the reach.      

Trucking Wellness Statistics related to the Engen Driver Wellness Programme

Year-on-year uptake has increased:

* A total of 7,181 unique screenings were conducted in 2014, compared to 4,815 in 2013 – a 49.1% increase.

* The total number of individuals screened has also increased by 445 (50.9%) since 2013, as did all individual categories of screening.

* Screenings for cholesterol increased by 186 (43%), glucose by 433 (51%), BMI by 447 (51%), blood pressure by 444 (51%), HIV by 283 (47%), TB by 289 (48%) and sexually transmitted infections by 284 (47%).

“It’s amazing to see the increase in the use of the services, and it is clear that this intervention is making a difference to the driver’s well-being. However, there is still a major task ahead to reduce the impact of treatable conditions within the industry,” says Nduvane.

Truck drivers are reminded of the following health tips, especially as the high season approaches:

- Drink 2 liters of clean water every day
- Avoid any stimulants or non-prescribed medication
- Have your eyes test every 6 months
- Have your blood pressure and blood sugar tested every month
- Know your HIV status: test every year
- Take a short 2 minute break behind the wheel every 2 hours and walk briskly and stretch
- Eat small healthy meals every 3 hours

Read more:

Putting the brakes on HIV

How to travel safely

Staying awake behind the wheel

 
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