All around the world, small farmers and rural communities lack access to proper health care. Without proper medical care communities cannot thrive. Fair Trade standards require that farm workers and their families have access to doctors, medicine, proper nutrition, vaccinations and health education. Fair Trade farming cooperatives make decisions about what healthcare their communities need most, and many have elected to invest Fair Trade premiums into lifesaving health care facilities and programs.
- From HIV/AIDS and first aid programs to medications that help reduce the incidence of malaria, Hepatitis B and typhoid, farmers and workers around the world have benefited from Fair Trade.
- Farmer groups often provide emergency funds for workers, which helps support them during health crises, as well as life insurance, which is uncommon in the developing world.
- One Fair Trade cooperative set up a full-service, mobile clinic that makes regular visits to remote areas.
- A Fair Trade cocoa cooperative in Nicaragua hires local health outreach workers to advise rural women on nutrition, health and childcare.
- Some cooperatives subsidize eyeglasses and medical exams for members and their families.
- Fair Trade cooperatives often choose to build new health centers and clinics in rural areas where medical care is inadequate.
- Fair Trade not only supports direct investment in healthcare, but also provides indirect benefits through environmental regulation. Agrochemicals–that endanger the health of farm workers and wildlife, as well as pollute the soil, water and air–are strictly prohibited.
- Fair Trade certification combines stringent restrictions and financial incentives to encourage farmers to practice environmental stewardship that safeguard the health of themselves and those around them.
- Fair Trade premiums help fund health campaigns to combat health concerns that are especially pertinent to developing world populations.
- Cooperatives have invested in services for disabled workers, anesthesia machines for use during surgeries, garbage collection, and ambulance maintenance.
- Flower farms are infamous for exposing workers to dangerous pesticides that can have devastating impacts on their health. Fair Trade flower farms ban the use of dangerous agrochemicals and train workers in safe handling of approved pesticides.
- Fair Trade premiums paid for classes in first aid training and new protective clothing for workers on farms and in processing facilities.