oa South African Health Review - Health and health care in the workplace : pooling of resources and purchasing of health care
This chapter provides a description of the socio-demographic changes in the labour force with particular reference to the increased femininisation of the labour force and the changing industrial landscape. Limited data on the general health status of the adult population and the workforce is presented with a particular emphasis on chronic diseases and their risk factors.
The HIV and AIDS epidemic continues to have a profound impact on workers' health with some mining companies reporting prevalence as high as 30% among their workforce. Although a legislative framework exists for ensuring workers' health and safety, an integrated and unified approach is lacking in this area. There is consequently a paucity of occupational health service provision in both the public and private sectors. With respect to employer subsidised health care, there appears to be little coverage of low income earners who experience significant barriers to affordable and accessible health care. Employer-funded workplace-based clinic services, service a fraction of workplaces and are limited in the services they offer. It is recommended that the World Health Organization's Global Plan for Action on Workers' Health be utilised as a framework for improving the health of workers.
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