Agri Aid

21
Jun

TB Symposium: Finding missing TB patients

The burden of Tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa remains a serious threat, to yet TB is the highest killer among men in the country and third among women. Just over 33 000 deaths were attributed by TB in 2015 according to the Stats SA Mortality and causes of death in South Africa, 2015: Findings from death notification.

While much of the country’s investment on health is placed at reducing HIV, TB and STIs by 2022 according to the set targets as reflected in South Africa’s National Strategic Plan. There are, however, serious concerns with regards to finding key populations infected by TB and decreasing the number of Multi-Drug Resistant (MD) TB patients. The Tuberculosis South Africa Project held its annual TB Symposium on 29-30 May 2017, in addressing missing TB patients through prioritising key and hard to reach populations, with inputs and contributions by a number of key industry sectors and organisations.

Presentations and research studies were shared, among such present were from the National Department of Health, The Aurum Institute, TB/HIV Care Association, University of Cape Town; Occupational Medicine Division, Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), International Organisation Institute for Migration and much other more. You can access the presentations here.

It is noteworthy to mention and applaud at the same time efforts channelled at lowering the infection of TB and increase in enrolling patients on treatment, while this is positive in a country where with the existence of socio-economic patterns are critically unequal and the burden of health care is heavily reliant on the public sector. Notwithstanding, the threat being, since enrolling patients on MDR-TB treatment, is MDR-TB and XDR-TB. ‘’Treatment success has just barely reached 55% on MDR-TB,’’ said S’celo S. Dlamini, Director of Research, Information, Monitoring, Evaluation and Surveillance, National Department of Health. In addition, it is estimated that South Africa spends about R200 000 on a single MDR-TB patient, placing further weight on the government to roll out treatment. Such a risk is placed by defaulting TB patients, those who are exposed to MDR-TB patients (these include health care workers), wrong TB drug prescription and poor quality drug supply.

Professor G.J Churchyard from the Aurum Institute notes that ‘’South Africa will not meet the End TB targets at the current rate of decline. In order to “bend the curve” effective interventions need to be scaled up.’’ Much like the HIV approach, TB in South Africa needs to be addressed in a similar line, thus intensifying care and support, follow up, tracking and reaching key populations, and finally, but not limited to the above, introduce strategic interventions and cross-cutting interventions.

Know more about TB facts by clicking here.

 

By: Muzikayise Mike Maseko

12
Jun

Become Arrhythmia aware

The human heart is the most important organ in the human body, which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. Blood provides the body with oxygen and nutrients, as well as assists in the removal of metabolic wastes .Have you ever wondered what could happen if you could experience a slower or faster heart beat?

The Rhythm Society  postulates that, millions of people experience irregular heartbeats at some point in their lives, such occurrence is called Arrhythmia, the 5th-11th of June 2017 highlights World Heart Rhythm Week, under the Theme: Identifying the Undiagnosed Person with the aim raising awareness of heart rhythm disorders.

Arrhythmia refers to any change from the normal sequence of your heartbeat, the heartbeats can happen too fast or too slower than the usual rate. According to MedlinePlus  when the heart beats faster than normal it is often associated with tachycardia and when the heart beats too slowly one may suffer from bradycardia. However, the most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, which causes an irregular and fast heartbeat.

A normal resting heart rate of an adult  is regarded to be between 60 to 100 heartbeats per  minute, however according to ER24  having a heartbeat faster than 100 beats per minute or lower than 60 beats per minute does not always mean you are at risk. For example, people experience a faster heartbeat when exercising and some experience a slower heartbeat when sleeping. If you are physically fit, your normal resting heartbeat may be lower than 60 pulses per minute.

There are certain risk factors that contribute to irregular heartbeats and may later, if left untreated contribute to the development of arrhythmia.  Such factors include excessive alcohol intake, smoking, high blood pressure and unhealthy eating habits. To learn more about eating healthy go to http://agriaids.org.za/2017/04/25/scrutinize-your-eating-habits/

Excessive alcohol intake

Excessive intake of alcohol can directly damage heart cells and cause extra heartbeats, according to WebMD people who drink heavily can develop a weak heart (alcoholic cardiomyopathy). When this occurs, they can have various arrhythmia including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and ventricular tachycardia

Smoking

Smoking is one of the modifiable leading factors that leads to the development of arrhythmia, myDr in describing effects of smoking  asserts that “carbon monoxide in cigarettes reduces the amount of oxygen available to the muscle, brain and blood .This means the whole body, especially the heart, must work harder. When the hearts pumps harder the pulse rate increases

Hypertension

Hypertension is one of the world’s leading causes of irregular heart rhythm. Hypertension, according to the World Health Organisation is an increase in blood pressure, wherein the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, putting them under increased stress. Each time the heart beats; it pumps blood into the vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart must pump. Such pumping may disturb the normal sequence of the heart beat and lead to coronary diseases.

Unhealthy eating habits

An unhealthy diet, lacking the needed nutrients and consisting of high sugar consumption, salt, saturated fats, and trans-fatty acids contributes to the development of irregular heartbeats leading to coronary diseases. According to research conducted by the World Heart Federation, approximately 16 million (1.0%) and  1.7 million  (2.0%) of death worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption.

Arrhythmia can be harmless, serious or life threatening, some of the identifiable symptoms without involving a ultrasound of the heart include shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitations, dizziness, fatigue or sweating. However, you can check your pulse if you notice any irregularities by placing the tips of your index and middle fingers on the inner wrist of your other arm, just below the bottom of your thumb. Press your wrist lightly until you feel your pulse. Count the number of beats in 30 seconds and multiply by two to determine your heart rate in beats per minute.

Stay healthy, be cautious of any irregular symptoms and take care of your health. Follow us on Twitter @agriaidsa and Facebook AgriAid SA

by: Mbali Witness Motha

19
May

Young people and high blood pressure in South Africa

At the heart of the world’s mortality rate, high blood pressure reels a worrying trend not only among the elderly, as it is often assumed, but shockingly, research suggests that there has been an increase among children, adolescents and young adults. While the globe marked World Hypertension Day, 17 May 2017 under the theme ‘’Know your numbers,’’ it is with sadness that in developing countries and low-income areas the rate among the youth is swelling.

Hypertension, according to the World Health Organisation is an increase in blood pressure, wherein the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, putting them under increased stress. Each time the heart beats; it pumps blood into the vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.

The normal blood pressure of an adult is 120/80 mmHg and anything higher than that will certainly lead to the early stages of hypertension. Although, it must be noted that low blood pressure (hypotension) can alter dire consequences for one,  which may result in life-threatening conditions such as a weak and rapid pulse, rapid and shallow breathing, cold, and clammy. Read more about low blood pressure here.

South Africa is among the world’s most affected countries by hypertension placed fifth (5), making it the second most affected in Africa just below Botswana according to World Health Rankings.  Much of this is directly linked to social and behavioral factors. These contributing factors have adverse effects and encourage the rapid rise of hypertension among the youth. More than 90% of youths who are hypertensive suffer from primary hypertension,  a condition that is genetically connected and as a result of unhealthy diet, overweight and stress.

Much of the aforementioned have become too familiar in South African, wherewith studies warn of a rising number of obese children who in most cases grow to be hypertensive. Although government’s intervention is heading in the right direction, thus the legislation of salt on informing that diets must not exceed 5 grams of salt intake per day. However, consumer behavior, change in societies and the culture of modernization are not all too easy on the situation. Socio-patterns such as alcohol abuse, smoking,  lack of physical exercise and poor diet are among the risk factors for the development of hypertension.

While South Africa is leading the fight among low-income countries to reduce salt intake, it is inevitable and frankly saddening that in a country where the gap between the rich and the poor is big, and where the rate of unemployment among the youth is widening, such a challenge is far too unsettling. Yet, we need to acknowledge interventions and the great work that is done by government, organizations, institutions, health professions and campaigners in addressing and educating people about hypertension and its link to heart diseases and stroke. Moreover, efforts, although they need to be backed with efficient health services, on health awareness and health education need to take center stage from both government and civil society.

 

By: Muzikayise Mike Maseko

12
May

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare, let’s honour them

Nurses play a vital role in changing and shaping the livelihoods of millions of people across the world, the 12 of May is widely celebrated every year as International Nurse’s Day in recognition of the role they play in delivering and improving access to health care. This year’s theme is Nurses: A voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 12 of May is aimed at raising awareness amongst nursing professionals, general policy makers and communities at large, to recognise the amazing work that they do around the world and to achieve optimal health and improve people’s lives.

According to the International Council of Nurses, ‘’Nursing encompasses the promotion of health, prevention of illness and care of physically ill, mentally ill, and disabled people of all ages in all health care and other community settings. Within this broad spectrum of health care, the phenomena of concern to nurses are individual, family and group responses to actual or potential health problems’’.

Take a moment and think of the wide health problems we face every day, now try to think of how life could be without nurses and caregivers. To this end, nurses remain the voice of the patient and their inputs in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the United Nations in 2005. According to (ICN) ‘’they contain 17 goals covering a broad range of sustainable development issues for the world, such as ending poverty, hunger, improving health and education, combating climate change, and etc.’’

Africa and many other countries across the world face numerous challenges in improving the health status of its population, with the existence of non-communicable diseases in our communities, such as heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and chronic lung diseases, through the hard work and dedication of nurses, patients suffering from such illnesses are treated daily with the aim of improving their health status.

Let’s take a moment, as a world,  to honour and to celebrate the hard work and dedication of nurses. As AgriAid SA, we would like to wish all nurses and caregivers across the world a happy International Nurses Day.

 

By: Witness Mbali Motha

3
May

Social implications faced by agricultural women: What you can do

Women in agriculture are faced with numerous challenges and problems circulating their livelihoods daily. Some of the challenges they face include, harsh living conditions and are often judged by society on how they should appear.

According to the United Nations, ‘’rural women account for a great proportion of the world’s agricultural labour force, produce majority of food grown, especially in subsistence farming and perform most of the unpaid care work in rural areas” yet their struggle remains vastly unchanged.

To this end, personal hygiene is one of the major challenges that rural women are faced with. For one to be well presented and to maintain a clean image in society, one has to make use of basic toiletry  products that are not only essential for aesthetics and beauty but very critical in fighting  harmful  bacteria , illnesses, and help reduce chances of getting infected as a result of poor hygiene, which may lead to the development of diseases.

The Australian Department of Health  stipulates that “the human body can provide a place for disease-causing germs and parasites to grow and multiply, these places include the skin and in and around the opening of the body. It is less likely that germs and parasites will get inside the body if people have good personal hygiene’’.

Poor personal hygiene is one of the challenges that women in agriculture are facing, as a result, they are more at risk and are exposed to contacting infections caused by germs and parasites. Normally these affect the skin, the intestines and the worst being, the genital area. As such, under these conditions women are susceptible to developing Vaginosis; a condition wherein an overgrowth of one of several bacteria naturally found in the vagina which may lead to STIs, preterm birth, infection risk after gynaecologic surgery and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).  In addition, lack of personal hygiene can be detrimental in causing pathogenic bacteria, to which may result in the following infections:

Tuberculosis

According to Wikipedia one of the bacterial diseases with the highest disease burden is tuberculosis, caused by the bacterium mycobacterium tuberculosis, which kills about 2 million people a year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. hhttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/pathogenic-bacteria

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lung that causes inflammation in your lung’s sacs or alveoli making it difficult to breath. The most common bacterial type that causes the infection is  streptococcus pneumoniae. Early signs of pneumonia include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

 Cholera

Cholera is one of the bacterial diseases caused by a bacterium called cholerae, it causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration to the body which can result to death. Contaminated water and food are the primary source of cholera. Water Sanitation and Environmentally-related hygiene stipulates that hundreds of millions of people do not have access to improved sources of drinking water, worldwide, there are 1.6 million deaths per year attributed to diseases spread  through unsafe water ,poor sanitation and lack of hygiene’’.https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/ldc/hygiene_challenges.html.

 

It is evident that the toll of these infections and diseases are rife among rural communities and especially women who are the primary bearers of families. To such, they remain at great risk of contracting bacterial infection due to, poor personal sanitation, and lack of hygiene products needed for everyday use due to unfavourable economic conditions.

We call on you to lend a hand and help improve the livelihoods of women in agriculture by donating any of the following: sanitary pads, deodorant, toothpaste, soap, and face cloth.

Drop off your donations at our offices here or adopt a similar campaign in your area of work, at school and/or in your community.

Interact with us on Twitter and Facebook and join in on the conversation by using the hashtag #Toiletries4AgriWomen

By: Witness Mbali Motha

 

 

25
Apr

SCRUTINIZE YOUR EATING HABITS

Healthy living forms an integral part in the development of our bodies and wellbeing. It is necessary that one takes precaution of the kind of foods that they consume which usually makes up a diet. A healthy diet consists of lean proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.

 

Why is it important to keep a healthy lifestyle?

Our bodies cannot produce the nutrients that our immune system requires to function properly, as such we need to fuel our immune system with a balanced diet. A balanced diet aids in defending the immune system to fight against illnesses, Infections, increase productivity, regulate body weight, improve physical performance, and reduce the risks of chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

 

What happens when an unhealthy diet is followed?

A diet lacking needed nutrients and contain foods that are high in fats, sugar and salt are contributing to the development of chronic diseases such as coronary disease.

According to a study conducted by Environmental Research and Public Health published in 2012 page; 9  ‘’cardiovascular disease (CHD), including coronary disease(CHD) and stroke is a major contributor to the worlds burden or disease, ranging currently as the most important cause of death and producing substantial disability and reduced wellbeing among surviving people. Distinct measures of primary prevention mainly regular physical activity, healthy diet and smoking cessation have been investigated, with convincing evidence of respective risk reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.’’

In addition, smoking is regarded as one of the major causes that contributes to an unhealthy diet, it is harmful to one’s health in that it can shorten your life span to ten years and more.

 

Moving forward, are you bottling enough water?

To stay hydrated throughout the day you need sufficient intake of fluids per your body’s recommendation which aids blood circulation, regulation of body temperature and flushes away unwanted toxins. Studies on hydration suggest that dehydrated drivers may pose hazards on the road. This can put the lives of other drivers and more on pedestrians, such as old people and children using the road daily. To avoid such occurrences, we need to change our attitude towards drinking water; taking precaution of the fact that water is required by every cell in our bodies.

As we mark the end of health awareness month, April, it is important that we strengthen awareness and intensify education on health.

 

Engage with us on Twitter @AgriAid SA,    Facebook:  AgriAid SA, LinkedIn: AgriAid SA

By: Witness Mbali Motha

 

 

24
Apr

Donate toiletries for women in agriculture who are in need

Have you ever been in a situation where you did not brush your teeth early in the morning? Think of it, neither you enjoyed the moment you forgot to put on your deodorant. While this did not make your day, how much more of the women who go without basic toiletries every day in agriculture? And not to mention sanitary pads.

 

For some, affording basic toiletry products is something worth not mentioning and we tend to think of it as essential, yet, many women who are beneficiaries of workers in agriculture and live nearby farming communities have become used to such situations we find particularly unpleasant. Yet alone, periods can be traumatising on their own, how much more they can be when women have to use an old cloth?

 

The massive backdrop of poverty which exists in these communities has serious implications on the health and the wellness of not only women and men, but children who are vulnerable to communicable diseases. We are calling on you to lend a hand by simply donating any of the following items:

  • Sanitary pads
  • Toothpaste
  • Roll on
  • Soap
  • Body lotion
  • Tooth brush
  • Face cloth

 

AgriAid SA works closely within the agricultural sector in delivering primary health care and wellness services in fighting the pandemic of HIV, TB and NCDs. Simply drop off your items in our offices which are located here or organise a box in your area around Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Polokwane and we will pick it up when it is full.

Follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #Toiletries4AgriWomen

 

For more information, contact:

 

Muzikayise Mike Maseko

Marketing & PR Officer

Tel: 012 320 8455

Email: muzikayise@agriaids.org.za

Cell: 060 760 9656

9
Mar

AgriAid SA announces name change

AgriAid SA is proud to announce its name change from AgriAids SA to AgriAid SA. The decision came about that the fight against AIDS alone is one that has been drastically suppressed over the years, and that efforts to prevent infected people reaching the AIDS continuum have been an outstanding success.

Thus the removal of the letter ‘’s’’ in the Aids phrase is motivated by this decision, however, the fight against HIV is an ongoing battle, with the link between HIV, TB, and non-communicable diseases (NCD). It is in this light that our main focus is to provide quality health care and wellness services to workers and communities within agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

AgriAid SA is an NGO established in 2008 to organise and implement HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and wellness programmes to workers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries across five provinces in South Africa and within 12 districts. The programmes are funded and supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a PEPFAR implementing agency, and the National Department of Health (NDoH). The main goal of AgriAid SA is to reduce the direct effects of HIV and TB on agriculture, forestry and fisheries workers and their beneficiaries. Thus it does by promoting an integrated approach wherein HIV, TB  and NCD awareness are raised through sharing of information, biannual testing and offering treatment as they are essential components in fighting the pandemic.

In addition, we have tweaked our old logo to fit in with the current direction the organisation is taking. Check out our home page on http://agriaids.org.za/

We look forward to continuing our efforts in ensuring that agriculture, forestry and fisheries workers have access to quality health care and wellness services implemented effectively at their workplace.

 

For more information, contact:

Muzikayise Mike Maseko

Marketing & PR Officer

Tel: 012 320 8455

Email: muzikayise@agriaids.org.za

Cell: 060 760 9656

8
Mar

International Women’s Day message from AgriAid SA CEO

Monene professional image

Monene Mamabolo: CEO

 

Today, March 8, 2017, marks International Women’s Day which is celebrated across the world. It comes at a time while this day is observed I am celebrating my work anniversary of just over four (4) years in an executive position.

I remember well four years ago when I was appointed Chief Executive Officer of AgriAid SA. It brings pleasant feelings when I look back at the impact we had in changing the social lives of people, especially the agriculture sector.

Access to health care is a basic right in South Africa and is one of the most important rights enshrined in our constitution under chapter 2. The work we do at AgriAid SA rests on the importance of providing quality health care and wellness services to workers and communities in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector. Thus to reduce the direct effects of HIV/AIDS and TB on workers in the aforementioned sectors and their beneficiaries.

I have seen AgriAid SA expand into greater heights, although it was unbecoming without challenges and trials to which we have overcome a mammoth of them.

In keeping in line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme, Be Bold For Change, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to colleagues, sectors of industry and the many that supported me in making a difference. If I must say, most of my ideas, creative thoughts and dreams would not have succeeded without your unwavering support, assistance and commitment towards the work we do with fellow colleagues, partners and funders.

You have made my journey worth tackling more endeavours, not hiding away and with more appreciation as a young black woman leader.

For much of this, I wish you all a felicitous International Women’s Day, #BeBoldForChange.

Monene Mamabolo

Chief Executive Officer

26
Sep

North West Health urges farmworkers to lead healthy lifestyle

The Bokone Bophirima Department of Health in partnership with AgriAIDS, non governmental organisation with interest on the health of farm workers, on Friday, 23 September 2016 engaged farmers and farm workers on health issues affecting the farming community. The engagement was held at Rothman Boerdery farm just outside Brits town.

The engagement was part of the broader departmental strategy of expanding health services to groups like farms that do not have fixed health facilities. The strategy received a major boost from Rothman Boerdery with announcement of building a clinic. The envisaged clinic will help more 700 Rothman Boerdery farm workers and those from neighboring farms.

Read the full article here

North West Health, 26 September 2016