Farmers Occupational Health--The Swedish Model.* Sverker Höglund**
Swedish farming is mainly run by the farmer and his family. About 90% of the farmers are organized into the Swedish Federation of Farmers. Twenty years of occupational health services have been considered. Today the country is covered with occupational health centers to which the farmer and his family may affiliate. During the last five years poor economics in the country resulted in the withdrawal of earlier state subsidies and farmers now pay the entire cost for this service. In spite of increased costs, farmers still chose to affiliate with the occupational health service and today about 50% of the active farmers are members. They are offered a program of health check-ups every second year, information and advisory activities, and the possibility to consult the health center in case of problems. Research programs are in progress in collaboration with research institutions. Agriculture is organized differently in other countries and experiences from our occupational health service may be difficult to implement by others. However, our experiences indicate that the need of occupational health surveillance is urgent. There are great possibilities to prevent further injuries and diseases. To be successful, however, it is important that the farmers and farmer's organizations are taking active part in the work.
*Presented, in part, at the Fourth International Symposium "Rural Health and Safety in a Changing World" held October 18-22, 1998, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Medical Director, The Swedish Farmers' Safety and Preventive Health Association, Stockholm, Sweden, phone +468.440.8600, fax +468.21.7306.