Supporting Nutrition in the Workplace

Nutrition plays a major role in employee health, it can impact on blood pressure, cholesterol, digestion, some cancers and HIV.  Workplace programmes that promote healthy diets and improve access to food for employees are beneficial to employers and employees alike. Good nutrition in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle preserves health, improves quality of life and delays disease progression. This is good news for employers as healthy employees are more engaged, productive and demonstrate higher levels of commitment. Please follow the link to read about how SWHAP supported workplaces are contributing to improved nutrition amongst workers, their families and communities. Support to  nutrition in the workplace.

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Donations

2014 SWHAP Achievement Award Winners

Congratulations to the SWHAP Achievement Award winners. The winner of the Award for Most Comprehensive Programme 2014 was presented to Scania South Africa. Sodeico from DRC won the Award for Best Progress, Ulrich Seats South Africa won the category for Most Innovative Intervention and Sandvik Zimbabwe were presented with the Award for Best Supply Chain Programme. Peer Educator Achievement Awards were also presented to Lilian Motto from Tanzania, Boitshepo Balozwi from Botswana, Susan Musonda from Zambia, Diana Davids from Namibia, Sammy Mambo from Kenya and David Mandhlasi from South Africa.

Best Supply Chain Programme presented to Sandvik Zimbabwe

Most Innovative Intervention presented to Ulrich Seats from South Africa

Most Innovative Intervention presented to Ulrich Seats from South Africa

Best Progress presented to Sodeico from DRC

Best Progress presented to Sodeico from DRC

Most Comprehensive Programme presented to  Scania South Africa

Most Comprehensive Programme presented to Scania South Africa

 

Ebola

The current outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa is the deadliest on record and has killed more people than the previous outbreaks combined. The high mortality of the virus is instilling fear in many populations in affected and neighbouring countries. Moreover myths and misconceptions about the virus are hampering effective response efforts.

SWHAP partners in East Africa and the DRC are conducting awareness sessions on Ebola. These sessions are highlighting in particular, how the virus is spread, symptoms of the virus and precautions that can be taken to prevent infection. The awareness sessions are complementary to government initiatives to sensitise their populations on Ebola and to provide credible sources of information relevant to local contexts.

Ebola sensitisation at DUX in DRC

Ebola sensitisation at DUX in DRC

The awareness sessions in the DRC are addressing the concerns of employees who travel to affected regions as part of their duties. Ericsson, a communications company in the DRC, is looking at ways in which it can enhance efforts to provide access to practical information, through available hotlines, regional newsletters and reinforcing hygienic practices in their working environment.  Additional efforts are being made to sensitise the private sector through the HIV business coalition and other actors.

The outbreak in the DRC is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in West Africa. The DRC has been experienced seven Ebola outbreaks since 1976, when the virus was first discovered, and has developed successful strategies for the management and containment of the virus. These experiences are being shared with other African states.

Transmission and Symptoms

Ebola is “transmitted to people from infected wild animals and spreads in human populations through human to human transmission” (World Health Organisation). Transmission is through direct contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids and objects such as needles which have been contaminated with infected body fluids. Symptoms of Ebola may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure. These symptoms include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.  A person is only infectious once symptoms start to show. At present there is no licenced vaccine or specific treatment and doctors can only treat the symptoms of the virus but not the virus itself. The World Health Organisation has however authorised experimental treatments and several vaccines are in the process of being tested. Family and friends or health care workers in close contact with Ebola patients are at highest risk of infection. Early screening has been shown to improve health outcomes.

Ebola Prevention

  • Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids
  • Avoid handling items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids
  • Avoid funerals or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola
  • Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids and raw meat prepared from these animals
  • If you have travelled to an area with known Ebola cases, monitor your health for 21 days and seek immediate healthcare if you develop any of the symptoms of Ebola listed above.

Adapted from: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/index.html

As we have seen in the HIV response, providing accurate information is the first step in addressing the stigma and discrimination that affected populations’ experience. For more information on Ebola follow the link below.

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en/

United Nations Day 2014

SWHAP joins the world in celebrating United Nations Day. The 24th October is the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations (UN), when the UN officially came into being. It is an important day for highlighting the aims and achievements of the UN and mobilising support for the important work the organisation carries out. The Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme (SWHAP) works in close cooperation with certain UN agencies such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in contributing to the response to HIV and AIDS through workplace programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. SWHAP provides support for HIV workplace programmes in over 290 workplaces in ten countries. Working in partnership with 116 companies and respective unions, workplace programmes are reaching out to employees, their families and vulnerable populations in the community. In doing so SWHAP strives to contribute to the achievement of the international development goals set by the UN, in particular Millennium Development Goal 6, “Combating HIV and AIDS, Malaria and other diseases”.

SWHAP is also part of the ILO’s Inter-Agency Task Team on HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy/ Programmes and Private Sector Engagement, and supports campaigns such as, “Getting to Zero at Work” and “VCT@Work”, an initiative to reach 5 million workers with voluntary HIV counselling and testing by 2015. As well as providing opportunities for testing, the initiative aims to ensure that those testing positive are referred to appropriate treatment, care and support services. SWHAP is recognised as one of the few programmes aligned to this approach and which incorporates the implementation of the ILO’s HIV and AIDS Recommendation (No. 200) in its model for workplace HIV and AIDS programmes. This Recommendation is the first international labour standard on HIV and AIDS in the world of work.

SWHAP in Kenya participating during the launch of VCT@Work in 2013

SWHAP in Kenya participating during the launch of VCT@Work in 2013

SWHAP in Zimbabwe partnered with the ILO at the Harare Agricultural Show promoting VCT@Work

SWHAP in Zimbabwe partnered with the ILO at the Harare Agricultural Show promoting VCT@Work

SWHAP 10th Anniversary Conference 2014

Today SWHAP welcomes over 170 delegates from 11 countries to the annual two day conference being held in Lusaka Zambia. The conference celebrates ten years of SWHAP and provides an opportunity to showcase various workplace programmes, and to explore the theme “Business efficiency and health: Creating Sustainable Wellness and HIV Programmes”.

This year’s keynote speaker will be the Honourable Dr Joseph Kasonde, the Zambian Minister of Health.  The annual SWHAP Achievement Awards will also be presented at a gala dinner on  October 22 officiated by the Ambassador of Sweden to Zambia, Mrs Lena Nordström.

The conference is taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka from 22-23 October. The conference programme can be downloaded here: Conference Programme