Helping SA’s truckers stay healthy

Petroleum company Engen has teamed up with multi-partner organisation Trucking Wellness to launch its latest annual campaign to help South Africa’s long-distance truck drivers maintain healthy lifestyles while on the country’s roads.

The Driver Wellness campaign started at Engen garages across Mpumalanga province at the beginning of this month, with hundreds of truck drivers already screened for various diseases.

trucking-wellness1-250Over eight hundred drivers presented themselves for screening in 2012, compared to 400 in 2011. This year, the aim is to increase the number of drivers screened by a further 30% (Images: North Star Alliance)The initiative, in which mobile clinics, nurses and counsellors are stationed at garages to provide truck drivers with various health care services, is expected to cover 17 Engen sites and reach thousands of drivers by the end of October.

“Drivers get an opportunity to go for free voluntary screening in mobile clinics by qualified nurses and councillors for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, tuberculosis, BMI (body mass iIndex) and HIV and Aids,” said Engen Petroleum spokesperson Tania Landsberg.

The programme also provides counselling and a referral service where required.

EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES

According to Landsberg, 841 drivers presented themselves for screening in 2012, compared to 400 in 2011. This year, the aim is to increase the number of drivers screened by a further 30%.

“We appreciate what the campaign does to encourage us to get tested because early detection can save many lives,” said Henry Mngomezulu, a long-distance truck driver who was tested in Emakhazeni on Friday. “We are always on the road and we don’t get time to visit our nearest clinics when we are at home.”

Corporate social investment manager at Engen, Khanyisa Balfour, said the company believed that initiatives like these “can make a real difference in road safety in the long run and encourage a healthy lifestyle change in professional drivers”.

Balfour said the Belfast truck stop was one of many around the country where drivers rested overnight after spending long hours on the road during the day.

The campaign is set to cover most regions of South Africa and will next be taken to KwaZulu-Natal.

Source: SAnews.gov.za