Surgery now offered at Two-a-Day
For apple and pear packers Two-a-Day, a major employer in the Grabouw valley and shareholder of Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, their commitment to wellness for their people has also proved to be good for business. A recent investment in additional medical equipment made possible through a partnership with South African United Workers’ Liberation Movement (SAUWOLIMO) now takes this commitment even further.
Director of Human Resources at Two-a-Day, Dimitri Jacobs says that the wellness programme, spearheaded by Dr Anthony Hess and company Nursing Sister Cheryl Bozman, has already delivered a more than two percent reduction in absenteeism which, according to Jacobs, amounts to an annualised saving of more than R1 million in lost productivity. This year, following a major company investment into medical infrastructure, not only is Dr Hess available on a full-time basis to Two-a-Day Group staff but is now also able to do life-saving advanced screening and perform various surgeries on the premises.
“From an HR perspective, not to mention human comfort, the long waiting time at the local day hospital is a problem as people need to take at least one day and sometimes two days off work even before they are seen by a doctor. Having Dr Hess on our premises dramatically reduces the number of sick days people need to take,” Jacobs explains.
Dr Hess is a medical doctor from Botrivier who has his feet firmly imbedded in the districts of the Overberg and Groenland. He has fond memories of growing up on an apple farm called Môreson in the Elgin Valley before moving to Botrivier for primary school. His mother, Joy, was a farm worker and apple sorter at Two-a-Day and father Henry, a railway worker. “As a family we had little income but clarity of purpose and my parents lead my four siblings and I to harness every opportunity and to succeed despite the odds”, Dr Hess says. Jacobs comments: “We are pleased to have Dr Hess as a medical doctor at the very Two-a-Day packhouse where his mother worked for 28 years.”
According to Jacobs, Dr Hess invested 18 years at university and, in the process, obtained five degrees including a Master’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of the Western Cape and a specialist degree in medicine at the University of Stellenbosch.”
“Recently we experienced a first at Two-a- Day”, Dr Hess says: “One of workers was about to be married but suddenly felt himself disfigured after earrings were torn from his ears during a violent robbery. His ear-bells were split into two. The surrounding hospitals were unable to do the procedure before the wedding and, with the patient’s consent, we performed it in our day surgery.”
Dr Hess adds: “One of the latest acquisitions is an automated external defibrillators (AED) to shock the heart. This is an essential instrument in a cardiac emergency. A wide range of the general workforce will be trained how to use it. Advanced life support is now possible in the clinics.
State-of-the art ECG machines can now assist in the diagnosis of a heart attack and hopefully act as an early warning and prevent premature deaths. Talking about the operation he says. “A sterile area was demarcated and, after local anaesthetic, the skin from the four, half ear-bells were carefully removed to create new surfaces to adhere. With the finest of suturing material the two half ear-bells were joined once again. Prophylactic antibiotics were given to prevent infection. The ear lobe is notorious for severe infection because of the cartilage of which it is made.” Dr Hess explains, adding: “The patient made a full recovery and stood proud on his wedding day.”
To support new surgical procedures, a wide range of surgical instruments such as diathermy or electrocautery machines to stop bleeding with minimum invasion were purchased.
According to Jacobs, Two-a-Day has now expanded clinic services to farms further afield from Grabouw to Villiersdorp and Kaamansgat to share facilities with more and more growers and their staff.
Tru-Cape managing director Roelf Pienaar says that increasingly customers locally and abroad are interested in the positive ways growers and processing facilities like Two-a-Day are adding value to the lives of workers. “This is a perfect example of the positive contribution made as a result of the sale of South African apples and pears.” he ends.