Apr

Engen Driver Wellness continues to deliver health benefits

2015-04-16 09:03
Screenings for blood pressure during the 2014 Engen Driver Wellness programme increased by 51% compared to 2013. A concern is that 27.8% of  participants had abnormally high readings while 4,8% of participants presented with abnormally low blood pressure readings.

Engen Driver Wellness, a mobile health awareness initiative run by the Corridor Empowerment Project (Coremp), continued to grow its positive impact on the country’s truck operators during 2014 with increased driver participation in voluntary screenings and improved health scores.

Results just released for 2014 show that the year-on-year uptake increased by 49.1% with a total of 7 181 unique screenings being conducted in 2014 compared to 4 815 in 2013. The total number of individuals screened also increased by 445 (50.9%) 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%).

Trucking Wellness, a primary healthcare delivery programme dedicated to the wellness of employees in the road freight and logistics industry, is funded and driven by the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics industry. Engen provided approximately R1.2-million in support of Trucking Wellness in 2014.

The Engen Driver Wellness programme relies on Trucking Wellness for their primary healthcare testing and treatment capability while Engen provides the facility and an appealing testing environment.

“The programme continues to have a massive all-round impact both on the drivers and their families who benefit from reduced exposure to diseases and greater longevity of a breadwinner. And, of course, on the company in terms of improved worker productivity, skills retention and disease management,” says Mntu Nduvane, Engen’s Corporate Social Investment manager.

Nduvane adds that the main aim of this initiative is to improve health through awareness. “Education helps to remind employees why their health is important and how life choices impact on their well-being. Ultimately this increases their health, safety and productivity.”

Of the 618 individuals tested for cholesterol during the 2014 Engen Driver Wellness programme, 7.2% had borderline or high readings versus 25% in 2013. This shows that the progranme is improving the health of drivers through awareness.

Of the 618 individuals tested for cholesterol during the 2014 Engen Driver Wellness programme, 7.2% had borderline or high readings versus 25% in 2013. This shows that the progranme is improving the health of drivers through awareness.

Screenings range from a simple 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 the organisation’s conveniently situated venues, or at mobile clinics sponsored by Engen, to broaden the reach.

Musa Ndlovu, national secretary at the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics industry, says the increased uptake on the services offered is due to increased activity on the initiative.

“Thanks to Engen, Trucking Wellness was able to increase its footprint within the road freight and logistics industry during 2014 – from 15 Engen sites to 21. Since Engen started partnering with us, we’ve been able to organise customised mobile wellness days to suit the industry while also looking after clients who are unable to attend our conventional Wellness Centres during normal operating hours,”

He says the programme, which visited the Free State, Port Elizabeth, Gauteng and the Western Cape in 2014, also attracted greater media attention, lifting its profile considerably. The screening data provides some intersting insights.

  • Of the 618 individuals tested for cholesterol, 7.2% had borderline or high readings, versus 25% in 2013.
  • BMI tests revealed a sample that was 23% overweight, 18.5% obese and 2.8% severely obese – meaning 44% of participants need to change their lifestyles. In such cases, delivering educational literature is expected to have an effect.
  • 8% of participants presented with abnormally low blood pressure readings, while 27.8% of participants had abnormally high readings.
  • Out of 886 participants tested for HIV, 7.4% were HIV positive and reffered.
  • Most worryingly, 49% of participants would not screen for TB symptoms although on the positive side, none of those who did presented symptoms.
  • None of the 437 people tested had any STI syptoms.

 

Nduvane says the programme and partnership with Trucking Wellness has been lauded by various dignitaries, including MECs in various provinces, local governments and departments of health where the programme has been active.

“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. Without the support from role players like Engen, the Trucking Wellness programme would not be able to expand or continue with current initiatives, to the detriment of individuals, the industry and the economy of South Africa,” says Ndlovu.

FleetWatch congratulates all on this superb programme.

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