Roadside health centre will treat, inform truckers
TRUCKERS, one of the highest risk groups in South Africa when it comes to HIV and Aids, are in the spotlight thanks to an oil company which has begun investing in roadside health centres.
Chevron has joined forces with Dutch NGO North Star Alliance to create a roadside centre on the NorthSouth Corridor, one of the country’s busiest trucking routes.
The centre, at Cato Ridge in Kwazulu-natal, will provide primary healthcare for truckers including treatment and information on sexually transmitted diseases, condom distribution, diabetes, high blood pressure testing and even eye tests.
Miranda Anthony, the company’s social investment manager, said many transport workers, sex workers and mobile communities did not enjoy access to adequate healthcare, in spite of the fact that they were regarded as the most at- risk categories in terms of HIV/ Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Some studies have shown that up to 56 percent of South Africa’s truck drivers are Hiv-positive. There are about 35 000 truck drivers on the country’s roads.
Truckers are considered high risk because they move between stable communities and are often associated with sex workers, another extremely high-risk group.
Several similar clinics have been set up by private companies.
Earlier this year, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi launched a similar concept, sponsored by MercedesBenz, in Epping.
At the launch he said his vision was to see all major roads and routes “covered by this intervention and also that we ensure that we work with our neighbours in the SADC (Southern African Development Community)”.
Earlier this year the KwazuluNatal health department said the common denominator in the seven districts with a high HIV prevalence of more than 40 percent, was that all the communities were close to the N2 and N3 highways – both major trucking routes into and out of the province.