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Mining the Health Gap

The 5 Must-Know Health Comparisons Between South African Mine Workers and Public Clinic Patients Revealed.


Taking into account the well-being of people across different sectors and communities is essential when trying to improve the overall health of a population. In this analysis, we will focus on the health and wellness of mine workers and individuals who visit public clinics or hospitals in South Africa.


By examining the data provided by our Abby Health Cloud, we hope to uncover various factors that might be affecting the health and wellness of these two groups. We used data from over 100 000 unique individuals for the below insights, gathered by self-service health stations over the past 12 months.


Health Status Showdown: Mine Workers vs Public Clinic Patients

1.) Body Fat:

Obesity is a significant health concern, as it can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The data shows that 31% of mining employees are obese, while 22.9% of patients attending public clinics or hospitals are obese. This indicates that mine workers have a higher prevalence of obesity compared to the general public attending public health facilities.


2.) Blood Pressure:

Blood pressure is a crucial indicator of cardiovascular health. Among mine workers, 60.5% have above normal blood pressure, while 62.3% of public clinic patients also have elevated blood pressure. The data reveals a higher percentage of public clinic patients with above-normal blood pressure compared to mine workers, although the difference is minimal. It is interesting that the overall blood pressure statistics seem to be very similar between the two groups.



3.) Smoking:

The percentage of smokers among mine workers is 26%, while it is 15% among patients attending public clinics or hospitals. This suggests that mine workers have a higher prevalence of smoking, which can contribute to various health problems, including respiratory diseases and cancer.



4.) Diabetes:

The prevalence of diabetes among mine workers is 3.3%, while it is 4.7% among public clinic patients. This data indicates a slightly higher rate of diabetes among patients attending public health facilities than among mine workers.


5.) Hypertensive Treatment:

The percentage of individuals on hypertensive treatment is 12.6% among mine workers and 15% among public clinic patients. This suggests a higher need for hypertensive treatment among the general public attending public clinics or hospitals compared to mine workers.


5a.) Blood Pressure for People on Hypertensive Treatment:

Of the individuals on hypertensive treatment, 87.7% of mine workers have above normal blood pressure, while 80.9% of public clinic patients experience the same condition. This data reveals a higher prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension among mine workers receiving treatment.



5b.) Body Fat for People on Hypertensive Treatment:

Among individuals receiving hypertensive treatment, a clear correlation exists between obesity and blood pressure problems. In the case of mine workers, 61.6% of those undergoing hypertensive treatment are obese, while for public clinic patients, the figure stands at 40.2%. This highlights that obesity is more prevalent among mine workers receiving hypertensive treatment compared to patients attending public clinics or hospitals.


Obesity is a known risk factor for hypertension, as excess body fat can contribute to increased blood pressure levels. When a person gains weight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, leading to higher blood pressure. Moreover, obesity often results in inflammation and hormonal imbalances, which can further exacerbate hypertension.



Insights and Possible Explanations


The data comparison reveals several key differences in the health and wellness of mine workers and public clinic patients. Mine workers have a higher prevalence of obesity, smoking, and uncontrolled hypertension despite receiving hypertensive treatment. Several factors could contribute to these disparities, including work environment, job-related stress, lack of access to healthy food options, and limited opportunities for physical activity in the mining industry.


On the other hand, public clinic patients have a slightly higher prevalence of above-normal blood pressure and diabetes. This could be attributed to factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and socioeconomic status. In this population, the higher need for hypertensive treatment may also be due to better access to healthcare facilities and increased awareness of hypertension and its related health risks.


The people attending the public clinics are in urban cities and townships, while the mining employees are based in less urban areas and would likely live close to the mining operations. The difference in living environments could play a significant role in the health disparities observed between these two groups.


For example, individuals living in urban cities and townships may have better access to healthcare facilities and a wider variety of food options. However, they may also be exposed to higher levels of pollution, which can contribute to health issues such as respiratory problems and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, mining employees living in less urban areas may have limited access to healthcare services and healthy food options, leading to higher obesity rates and uncontrolled hypertension.


Moreover, the financial constraints faced by both groups might limit their ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Low-income individuals may not be able to afford healthier food options, gym memberships, or preventative healthcare services, which can result in poorer health outcomes.


Another aspect to consider is the level of job-related stress experienced by mine workers. The physically demanding nature of mining work, combined with long hours and potentially hazardous conditions, may contribute to the increased prevalence of smoking and above-normal blood pressure in this group.


In contrast, public clinic patients who are unemployed or in low-paying jobs might experience stress due to financial instability, housing insecurity, and limited access to healthcare. These factors could contribute to their higher rates of hypertension and diabetes.


Wrapping it up


Understanding the health and wellness differences between mine workers and public clinic patients is crucial for developing targeted interventions and policies to improve the overall well-being of these populations. Employers in the mining industry and public health authorities should consider strategies that promote healthy lifestyles, provide better access to healthcare services, and address the unique challenges faced by individuals living in urban and less urban areas. By addressing these disparities, we can work towards achieving better health outcomes for all members of our society. This leads to a more productive and engaged workforce.


Are you looking to effectively manage the well-being of your employees in the mining or manufacturing sector? Visit www.go-abby.co.za to discover how Abby Health can assist you with our cutting-edge AI wellness solutions. We focus on addressing the pain points such as time-consuming health screenings, fraud, and diffuculities of implementing wellness programs at scale, ensuring a healthier and happier workforce. Get in touch with us today and see the difference we can make.


Josh Lasker

Co-Founder at Abby Health

Head of Occupational Health Tech Solutions

Cell: 0826034690

Email: josh@go-abby.co.za

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