Illovo Sugar's Medical Services - Caring for the Health of it's Most Valuable Assets

Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Illovo Sugar Ltd

"While prevention is our focus, many of our employees and their dependants will have been diagnosed with an acute or chronic illness."

The Medical Services function is concerned with the care of the health of the company’s most valuable assets, its employees. The company believes that employee health is one of the key foundations of their productivity.

As Illovo tends to operate in countries which are less developed and have associated high disease burdens, the management of employee health is critical to our success. This is extended to dependants and, in some cases, the local communities living around our operations.

Our services are tailored to the business needs in any particular area, and range from primary healthcare and hospital services to occupational health, a function which is carried out at all sites. As we are process-driven, we deliver an integrated service with constant feedback between all the medical functions.


The majority of common acute and chronic diseases and cancers can and must be prevented, for example diarrhoea, malaria, HIV, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cervical cancer in women and lung cancer. The primary focus of our services is prevention, and we invest in safe water, sanitary and disease control efforts, like malaria prevention and smoking cessation. This approach is also more cost effective, especially when one considers the implications of lifelong treatment for diseases like HIV, diabetes or hypertension. We are more and more concerned with promoting lifestyles which reduce the risk of disease (sufficient physical activity, prudent dietary practices), rather than incurring the effort and cost of treating people who become ill with preventable diseases.


WHILE prevention is our focus, many of our employees and their dependants will have been diagnosed with an acute or chronic illness. Our aim is to ensure that these employees obtain excellent medical care which results either in cure of their condition if feasible or the prevention of long-term complications - for example those of diabetes, like eye disease, amputations and kidney disease.

This can only be accomplished with excellent disease management. It is important that these services are of an acceptable quality and cost and that we obtain good outcomes, such that our employees can continue their working careers in a productive manner.



IMAGE: The sign over the gate says ‘Welcome to Zambia Sugar Hospital’ and the local community is delighted.

  • Total spend on employee health in 2012/13 = R62 million.
  • We operate: 24 primary health care clinics and 4 hospitals.
  • 295 permanent staff include:
  • 10 full-time and 9 part-time doctors
  • Plus other clinical and auxiliary staff.


Occupational health is concerned with the prevention of diseases arising as a result of workplace conditions. A good example of occupational disease is deafness occurring as a result of exposure to high noise levels in our factories. There are of course many other examples.

The first duty of the occupational health service is to identify employees at risk of an occupational disease and implement measures to reduce this risk. This can include engineering solutions (control, elimination or substitution), administrative measures and/or the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

If we are unable to reduce risk, excluding the effect of PPE, we then place these employees in a programme of medical surveillance in order to screen them for early features of the occupational disease in question, and then implement further control measures if we diagnose such.

Occupational health services are also concerned with the assessment of fitness to work, either at pre-determined intervals (pre-employment, and at defined intervals thereafter) or ad-hoc, in the event of a health condition being diagnosed in other parts of the medical service.



IMAGE: The new Maragra Clinic was officially opened on 26 April.


IMAGE: THE Zambia Sugar Hospital plaque after it was unveiled by the Hon Minister of Health, Dr Joseph Kasonde, MP.


There are no comments for this article.
Share your thoughts with us below.

Post a Comment

Display Name
(The name that appears with your comment)
Your Name
(Does not appear)
Email Address
(Does not appear)