Local news

iLembe Chamber partnership to improve worker access to chronic meds

Some 183 children have been born with HIV locally because of mothers defaulting on ARV treatments.

The iLembe Chamber of Commerce is joining forces with the KZN Department of Health (DoH) to help eliminate obstacles faced by chronic medication patients in Isithebe and Mandeni.

There is growing concern among community health workers and civil society representatives about the high number of workers in these areas failing to adhere to their chronic medication regimes and other preventative healthcare treatments.

This is attributed to a fear of missing work, inconvenience, requests for time off being refused, but primarily because of the “no work, no pay” principle being applied.

Chronic medication regimes include treatment such as ARVs, TB, diabetes and hypertension. Preventative healthcare practices include antenatal care, screening and tests, for example for malnutrition.

It is estimated that 183 children have been born with HIV locally in recent times because of mothers defaulting on ARV treatments.

Approached by the DoH, the iLembe Chamber has agreed to collaborate and help find solutions to make it easier for workers to overcome obstacles.

According to Chamber business support manager Sakhile Khumalo, they have begun the process of interacting with employer representatives and industrial health practitionrs in Mandeni and Isithebe to identify some key objectives.

These will include facilitating KZN DoH staff, allowing them to engage with workers on site at employers’ industrial health clinics, and the deployment of a health bus on a route and schedule within Isithebe to reach workers who do not have access to on-site facilities.

The Chamber is currently compiling data about on-site company health clinics and industrial health practitioners working in the area, from which a collaborative initiative will be formulated to address the challenges.

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