SA Canegrowers promotes wellness for women on farms
The event which was held to coincide with the annual Women’s Month in September was hosted at Arcadia Estate in the Entumeni district near Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal and in partnership with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Southern Africa.
Khanyile became interested in the impact of HIV/Aids on the South African economy while studying Agricultural Economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
She said since her appointment as an Agri-business Advisor at SA Canegrowers her dream was to improve the health and living conditions of women on sugarcane farms through the promotion of their health and general wellness.
Sugarcane farmer, Simon d’Aubrey who runs and partners in Arcadia Estate said when Khanyile contacted him saying she wanted to arrange an event for his staff where they could talk about their health concerns and wellbeing around the issues of HIV/Aids he was “immediately on board”.
“Our area is one of the world’s major hot spots for HIV/Aids related illnesses. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has a head office here in Eshowe. MSF has also worked closely with the Eshowe/Entumeni Farmers’ Association by successfully implementing a programme which involves their staff visiting our farms in the afternoon once the day’s work is done to dispense medicine to our employees.”
MSF Health Promoter, Feroza Clouts said the event was a “huge success” because it provided an opportunity for the team to educate the women on the various prevention and curative options available to them.
“MSF has been in the area since 2011 because the prevalence of HIV/Aids infections in the region was identified as being very high. Since then we have been involved with ongoing community work linked to testing and treatment. Now over 94% of the rural communities in Wards 1 to 14 in this area know their status, 94% of those who tested positive are receiving care and 95% have the disease well controlled,” she said.
Clouts said the team were also able to educate the group on the prevention and treatment of Tuberculosis (TB) as the increasing incidences of infection were of concern.
SA Canegrowers Regional Manager for the KwaZulu-Natal north coast and Zululand, Glantine Mashile said the awareness day was aimed at promoting awareness among a sector of the workforce that represented the backbone of the sugar industry.
He said the plan was now to roll out the initiative to other regions on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast next year.
Khanyile said seeing women becoming educated on their rights and empowering them with practical knowledge that could help them to live healthier lives had been very satisfying. “I grew up in Entumeni and I did my internship at Arcadia Farm, I know how the communities there struggle with these issues, it’s a matter that is very close to my heart. Now, I am budgeting for another event such as this next year at Amatikulu,” she said.