Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the battle against AIDS.

Resting place for trucks in South Africa

In 1999 every fifth long-distance driver in South Africa was infected with HIV. Since then Mercedes-Benz has supported a program in the battle against the virus with mobile clinics.

Help where the problems occur.

4:30 a.m. It is still pitch black. The rest area on the N1, which connects Cape Town with the border to Zimbabwe, is overcrowded, like always. A white Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with the lettering “Trucking Wellness” is parked between rows of long trucks. It is rush hour for the mobile clinic. Equipped with medical measuring and test equipment, Trucking Wellness helps its target group where it is needed: along the highways. A nurse draws a blood sample from a man. An AIDS test that never would have happened without Trucking Wellness. Because the long-distance drivers only ever get an average of four hours’ sleep. They often spend months on the road before they spend another night at home. No time to visit doctors. A truck slows down as a woman approaches. A door opens. A door closes. This is where problems meet. And spread via the roads.

Sprinter at a resting place as mobile clinic for truckers

Trucking Wellness on location. From the rest areas along the highways, HIV spreads throughout the entire country and across the borders.

Looking toward a “positive” future.

The target groups of Trucking Wellness are long-distance drivers and sex workers. With 22 stationary clinics, the aid program covers 80% of the most important highways. Trucking Wellness handles the remaining 20% with the mobile clinics. “A nurse and a medical adviser provide their services in each of the 16 vans”, says Tertius Wessels. “The mobile clinics enable us to provide education and information even in remote areas and give medical assistance.” The entire service is free and absolutely confidential. According to Tertius Wessels, identifying HIV in time is the top priority. Then there is often a good chance that the infected person will be able to live a relatively normal life. Can their ambitious goal for 2030 be achieved? Tertius Wessels is optimistic. In the last five years the number of new infections has decreased dramatically.

15 years trucking wellness

  • 16 million condoms distributed
  • 686,211 consultations
  • 378,338 medical treatments
  • 70,000 AIDS tests
  • 22 stationary clinics
  • 16 mobile clinics

Long-distance driver gets information about AIDS

Long-distance drivers at risk. A medical adviser is on board the mobile clinic and provides information about HIV and AIDS.

Hope on wheels with Trucking Wellness.

says Tertius Wessels, head of the Trucking Wellness program, expressing the hopeful goal. Mercedes-Benz is a long-standing project partner and provides an important contribution, supporting the program with a vehicle fleet of Sprinter and Vito. Trucking Wellness was initiated in 1999 by the road transport and logistics industry. Because HIV and AIDS have affected the country at an especially vulnerable point: supply reliability. According to estimates, every fifth driver was infected with HIV at that time. Kobus van Zyl, Managing Director of Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa, is familiar with the personal tragedies. And also with the problems this has caused the economy: “We were constantly searching for qualified personnel to replace drivers who had become sick or died.”

Sprinter as mobile clinic Trucking Wellness

With the mobile clinics Trucking Wellness can also reach and provide assistance in remote areas.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter of Trucking Wellness

Fighting AIDS together. Mercedes-Benz supports the Trucking Wellness aid program with nine Sprinter and two Vito.

Measuring blood pressure in the Sprinter clinic

Trucking Wellness has provided a total of 378,338 medical treatments in 15 years.

Truck and Sprinter of the Mobile Clinic Trucking Wellness in South Africa

Trucking Wellness' ambitious goal: in 2030 the first HIV-free generation in many years will grow up in South Africa.

Holding hands of a person with HIV

HIV is a blow of fate for the entire family. Drivers who live with undiagnosed and untreated HIV become unable to work far too soon.

Photos: Trucking Wellness

More Links to explore: www.truckingwellness.co.za

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