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Case Study: Health Education and Medical Examinations for an International Food Product Supplier in the Western Cape

In 2023, our healthcare team at Care Net Consultants conducted comprehensive annual medical examinations for over 70 employees of an international food product supplier based in the Western Cape. These occupational health examinations aimed to assess and improve the staff’s overall health and well-being, focusing on preventive measures and health education.

Health Education Initiatives

As part of the medicals, we provided tailored health education sessions to address specific health concerns relevant to the workforce. One of the key areas of focus was obesity awareness, as several employees were identified with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 35, categorising them as obese. These individuals received personalised counseling on the risks associated with obesity, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and joint problems. Our team emphasised the importance of a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and regular physical activity to mitigate these risks.

John’s Hearing Health Journey

One significant case from our medical examinations involved a 58-year-old employee, John (pseudonym used), who presented with a Percentage Loss of Hearing (PLH) of 17.5%. Despite not working in a noise zone, John reported difficulties in hearing and was educated on the potential causes and consequences of hearing loss. Various factors, including ear infections, earwax buildup, noise-induced hearing loss, and trauma, were discussed during the educational session.

John was referred to a health specialist for further evaluation and scheduled for a follow-up test with Care Net six months later. However, he chose not to return for the follow-up appointment. When we met John again during the 2024 annual medical examinations, he shared his journey to address his hearing loss. Upon receiving the referral letter in 2023, John visited the local hospital and was referred to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. The specialist diagnosed severe wax buildup in John’s ear canal and near his eardrum. The wax was safely removed through irrigation and suction methods. As a result, John’s most recent PLH was measured at 4.6%.

Audiometric Testing Protocol

Accurate hearing assessment is crucial for early detection and intervention of hearing loss. To ensure precise results, we adhered to a strict protocol. Employees were instructed to avoid exposure to loud environments for at least 16 hours before their audiogram. This precaution minimises the risk of temporary threshold shifts affecting test accuracy.

John’s journey highlights the importance of proactive health management and access to appropriate healthcare services. By addressing his hearing loss through timely intervention, we improved John’s quality of life and enhanced his performance in the workplace. During our return to this company, we noticed a positive development: the company had started a community garden where employees with a passion for gardening spend time during their lunchtime. The employees have been benefiting from the harvests of fresh spinach, tomatoes, kale, silverbeet, and herbs.

This case underscores the value of health education and regular medical examinations in promoting employee well-being and productivity. It further emphasises the importance of partnership. When medical examinations are done, the company’s management must look at the trends and health risks within the company and, in partnership with employees, find solutions that make a real difference.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

For more information on our occupational health services and comprehensive medicals, contact Care Net Consultants today. Your health and safety are our top priorities.