Do you really know that a farmers health is directly proportional to the increase in food production? A farmers health is the basis on which the entire planting season is executed.
Many rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from lots of farm-related injuries or ill health with very little access to adequate health care. Agriculture has been reported to be one of the most hazardous industries all over the world.
Access to healthcare services is critical to good health, yet rural residents face a variety of access barriers.
Farmers Health: Insurance
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), agricultural workers died from a work-related injury at a rate of 19.2 per 100,000 workers in 2015 — a total of 401 farmers and farmworkers out of the 2,088,000 full-time workers employed in production agriculture.
Each day, agricultural workers experience 100 non-fatal lost-work-time injuries. Transportation incidents, including tractor rollovers, were the leading cause of death but many other hazards exist on the farm.
Agriculture is different from many industries in that it can present hazards to people not actively involved in the industry, such as family members living on the farm and visitors, in addition to workers.
Additionally, hazards may exist for emergency medical services personnel and other healthcare professionals as they provide assistance and care to victims of farm accidents.
Farmers Health: Inadequate Social Amenities
It has been established that the health of rural people lags well behind compared to that of their city counterparts in such areas as alcohol risk, obesity, and smoking.
Access to primary care, dental care, allied health, and specialist services is becoming more difficult and, in many regions, requires greater time and expense on travel and accommodation.
Shortages of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, paramedics, and dentists persist, with the seriousness of these shortages further affecting the quality of health services available to rural farmers.
The state of indigenous health is a national disgrace and around 70 percent of the sub-Saharan African farmers live outside the major cities.
Other areas of rural and remote health in which urgent attention is needed include mental health, oral and dental health, and maternity services.
Farmers Health: Exposure to Chronic and Acute Health risks
Farmers health risks include:
• Exposure to farm chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizers, as well as toxic gases which may be produced from common farm practices like manure decomposition and silo crop storage
• Exposure to high levels of dust, which can contain mold, bacteria, and animal droppings, among other things
• Falls from ladders, farm equipment, grain bins, or other heights
• Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, which can result in skin cancer
• Joint and ligament injuries, which can result in arthritic conditions affecting mobility
• Exposure to loud noises and sounds from machinery and equipment which can result in hearing loss
• Stress from droughts, floods, pests, long hours, financial concerns, and feelings of isolation and frustration
• Risk of suffocation in a grain bin if a person is engulfed by the grain
• Risk of injury from operating farm equipment and motorized vehicles
• Risk of injury from working with livestock
• Risk of electrocution to persons operating large equipment that can contact overhead power lines
Ideally, residents should be able to conveniently and confidently access services such as primary care, dental care, behavioral health, emergency care, and public health services.
According to Healthy People 2020, access to healthcare is important for:
• Overall physical, social, and mental health status
• Prevention of disease
• Detection and treatment of illnesses
• Quality of life
• Preventable death
• Life expectancy
Farmers Health: Conclusion
Rural residents often experience barriers to healthcare that limit their ability to obtain the care they need. In order for rural residents to have sufficient healthcare access, necessary and appropriate services must be available and obtainable in a timely manner.
Even when an adequate supply of healthcare services exists in the community, there are other factors to consider in terms of healthcare access.
For instance, to have good healthcare access, a rural resident must also have:
• Financial means to pay for services, such as health insurance coverage that is accepted by the provider.
• Means to reach and use services, such as transportation to services which may be located at a distance, and the ability to take paid time off of work to use such services.
• Confidence in their ability to communicate with healthcare providers, particularly if the patient is not fluent in English or has poor health literacy.
• Confidence in their ability to use services without compromising privacy.
• Confidence in the quality of the care that they will receive.
The drive to achieve sustainable rural health led Umehdiokpo Foundation to embark on a monthly health outreach. The all-inclusive approach deployed ensures that many beneficiaries are reached.
An interview with the President and Founder of the foundation Dr. Luke Umeh had him testify that their Spiritual, Preventive, and Curative Medical Care therapy blesses over 60 patients monthly.
The project attracts new volunteers who play different roles during the outreach.
Some new volunteers in the October 2018 edition include; Dr. Anedu Promise, Dr. Ogbuanya Chinedu, and Nurse Tochukwu. Other doctors involved include Dr. Ifeanyi Umeh, Dr. Emeka Okoro, Dr. Sam Onyemaechi, and Dr. Chibuisi Isiguzo.
The Mercy Team comprising Amara and Joy Ezeibekwe delivered medication and beverages to vulnerable and handicapped patients in their homes.
Dr. Luke Umeh’s vote of thanks
My family and I are indeed grateful to God for the opportunity offered us to help the needy in our Community. We are also most grateful to our medical and evangelical team. Our Lord will bless them and our supporters. Our CHRISTLAND MEDICAL CENTER is under development. God’s love indeed never fails, and with Him all things are possible!
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