Prevention is cheaper and better than cure.
Occupational medicine is a priority within the Socfin Group. Training sessions are given to optimise risk prevention in the workplace. Training in first aid is provided to ensure that workers can respond timely and appropriately, for instance, in an emergency. Suitable safety equipment is supplied, accompanied by awareness-raising actions that stress its importance for individual protection.
Malaria is the most common disease in the areas where the Group is based. In collaboration with the local health authorities, plantation medical services pay special attention to this problem in their programme of treatment, prevention, education, distribution of treated mosquito nets and so on.
HIV and tuberculosis are generally not present on the Group’s plantations.
Again, in collaboration with the local health authorities, plantation medical services ensure that an effective educational programme is conducted in and around the plantations. In the case of HIV, this education primarily relates to the means of prevention and of care in the event of infection. The Group’s medical services use the same approach for the prevention of tuberculosis. The medical centres are all equipped with rapid tests and provide access to appropriate and effective treatment.
Family planning is a major component of public health today. Plantation medical services encourage workers to meet the family planning team or chat with trained medical personnel about this subject. Increasingly, family planning centres are being set up within the plantation medical centres.
Sanitation campaigns are conducted at all Group plantations, in collaboration with the local health authorities or NGOs specialising in social marketing. Priority is given to informing the local population and the inhabitants of the plantations about the sanitation risks they may encounter, and more specifically to helping them take protective measures and have the courage to discuss these matters with a qualified personnel member.
2014 - 2015: Outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
The plantations in Liberia and Sierra Leone have taken the necessary measures to ensure the best possible care for anyone infected and to prevent the spread of the virus in local populations, by giving training to workers and medical teams, providing the necessary equipment and supplies to medical facilities and setting up quarantine treatment centres. Particular stress has been laid on preventive measures in local populations (awareness campaigns have reached more than 33 000 people), including the identification of symptoms, the use of adapted funeral rites, means of self-protection and what to do if an Ebola case is suspected. Rigorous monitoring of the situation has led to a suitable and effective management of the crisis.
As a result of these measures and of the courage and rigorous approach of the field teams and plantation managers, the number of people infected has been extremely low.