SASOM has had a busy year with several successful projects and 50 new members. Perhaps the biggest single project was the hosting of an international congress.
Following up on the objective born at the ICOH2009 Congress to revive and strengthen ARAOH and consequently improve occupational health care for workers in all countries in Africa, SASOM hosted the international ARAOH/SASOM Congress in August 2011.
After ten months of planning, the two and a half day event went off very well, with excellent presentations from many countries. Co-operation between African countries was strengthened and SASOM offered to provide a secretariat and logistical support for ARAOH. ARAOH membership application forms in English and in French have been distributed. There will be no membership subscription at first. A competition has been launched for the design of a logo, and a website was established at www.araoh.org, with an email address as email@example.com
The next international congress will take place in 2014.
To coincide with the AGM on 26 November 2010, the KwaZulu-Natal Chapter staged an excellent conference at the Oyster Box in Umhlanga. SASOM arranged a one-day conference with help from local occupational medical practitioners in Kimberley on 11 March and a week later at Mercedes Benz in East London. The Cape Chapter is hosting a stimulating conference and the SASOM Annual General Meeting and dinner on 25 November this year.
It is becoming increasingly difficult and costly for our members to leave their practice to attend conferences in the larger centres. In an effort to take new information to occupational health practitioners in towns and cities off the beaten track and to encourage local networking, SASOM established the following new SASOM branches over the course of the year:
• 11 March – Northern Cape in Kimberley. Chair: Dr LizeMare Steenkamp
• 18 March – East London. Chair: Dr Les Trollope
• 30 March – Bloemfontein. Chair: Prof Willem Kruger
• 21 September – Mpumalanga in Nelspruit. Chair: Dr Victor Mothlale
• 26 October – Polokwane. Chair: Dr Victor Matabane
These branches have held meetings and arranged presentations and visits to industries, and the enthusiasm is tangible. More branches are planned in 2012.
Guidelines on aspects of occupational health practice have been updated and several new ones were added by Dr Danie Ungerer and his team in March 2011. In August a revised guideline, Medical requirements for fitness to drive, was added by Dr Greg Kew. Thirty-four guidelines are on a CD and an order form is available from the SASOM office.
A meeting was called in May to address issues around the signing of certificates of fitness to work. On this matter, members of the SASOM Executive met with the HPCSA attorney before Dr Jan Lapere, a SASOM member and lawyer, led a team who discussed the legal and practical implications of signing off certificates. SASOM members have also attended meetings with the Accreditation Committee and represented SASOM in meetings with the Department of Transport on medical requirements for fitness to drive.
Membership renewal forms and subscription invoices for 2012 will be sent to all members at the end of November. To ensure that members receive all the journals, fees must be paid before 31 January 2012 and proof of payment be sent together with the renewal form to the SASOM office. The renewal forms are vital to update the SASOM database with accurate contact details and check that payments on the bank statement are allocated correctly.
Please note that SASOM has a new bank account.
The National Office hours are from 09:00 until 16:00, Monday to Thursday and 09:00 to 15:30 on a Friday. As usual the office will be closed over the festive season from 15 December to 9 January 2012.
The SASOM Chairman and Executive Committee appreciate the contribution to occupational health care by all occupational health practitioners and wish them a peaceful festive season with a renewed passion to provide the highest level of care to all in 2012.
SASOM Project Coordinator
Tel: +27 (0)12 803 7418, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org