Frank van Dijk (co-author Peter Buijs) has held a lecture in Antalya, Turkey on how to cover the 85 % of all workers in the world without professional support in occupational safety and health (OSH). Given the poor coverage by expert-based occupational health services, many low and middle income countries are experimenting with basic occupational health care integrated in already existing regular health care. In most countries this care is embedded in primary health care, but in some countries community health care institutions are hosting. International organizations are supporting this development like WONCA (family physicians), ICOH (OSH experts), WHO, ILO and ISSA (social security).
Examples are presented from various countries: Brazil, Thailand, South Africa, United Kingdom and Turkey. These examples show that basic care for workers’ health is feasible and progressing in the world. National governments are responsible for the creation of favorable conditions. International collaboration can be fruitful. To be successful, a programmatic approach is necessary including community participation, financial resources, websites and apps with relevant quality information, and education of primary and community health care professionals and volunteers. These professionals and volunteers need also practical support by a well-developed infrastructure including access to OSH experts and clinical and lab referral options.
The lecture was part of the first International Occupational and Environmental Diseases Congress in Turkey (March 2017) .