Summer drought has lasting effect on farmer health

NURSING IN THE FIELD… From left, women’s health nurse, Fiona Mercer, practice nurse, Amy Francis, retired farmer, Albert Walsh, practice manager, Dee Walker and practice nurse, Amanda Williams. Photo: Steve Hutcheson.

As the full impact of the drought takes hold of the country, more and more farmers are finding themselves in dire financial straits having exhausted all resources in keeping their farming property together.

“The last thing that a lot of farmers and particularly men do, is take care of themselves,” said Dee Walker, the practice manager at Waranga Medical Centre in Rushworth. Dee and some of the practice nurses had set up a small booth at the Wanalta Shearing Day to put to those attending the need to look after themselves.

“I think the whole community is suffering, each part contributes to the next. A great many farmers are not doing so well due to the drought which then puts pressure on their families and flows on to the small businesses in the towns and the last thing they do is come in and get a health check when it is needed. A great many people are feeling the stress.”

The nurses were conducting blood pressure checks and giving out sample bags with some donations from outlets, the most important of which was a brochure that pointed farmers in the direction of where they can get assistance, financially and medically. The message is, don’t let your health be the last thing you concern yourself with.