SWHAP 2015 Annual Conference

On 12 November SWHAP welcomed over 160 delegates from 12 countries to the annual two day conference in Harare Zimbabwe. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss and exchange experiences and to explore the theme of “It’s your health: engagement through workplace wellness”. Conference participants looked at how the ownership of health and wellness at a personal level as well as by companies and unions could be promoted and how addressing issues such as gender, stigma, discrimination, HIV vulnerability within families, communities and key groups could encourage the engagement of all parties in workplace programmes.  These were important deliberations as strategic HIV and wellness programmes that address the health and well-being concerns of all employees lead to increased employee engagement which can improve motivation, morale, commitment and performance.

Oliver Mutukudzi performing Todii at the opening of the SWHAP conference. Todii was written at the height of the HIV epidemic in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s to stimulate opne discussion about the disease.

Oliver Mutukudzi performing Todii at the opening of the SWHAP conference. Todii was written at the height of the HIV epidemic in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s to stimulate open discussion about the disease.

Devine Ndhlukula

Devine Ndhlukula

The opening keynote address was made by Joyce Nonde Simukoko and Devine Ndhlukula. In her opening address Joyce Simukoko Nonde, former President of the Federation of Free Trade Unions in Zambia (FFTUZ), described the important advocacy role of unions in ensuring that no one is left behind in the HIV response. Whilst Devine Ndhlukula, Managing Director of Securico, noted that employee’s health is something that companies need to see as a crucial part of internal operations and a responsibility they must take on. She also spoke of the benefits her company had realised as a result of mentorship received from Sandvik during the Sandvik Supply Chain Programme.

Joyce Nonde Simukoko

Panel discussions with perspectives from unions, employers and programme implementers looked at ways in which unions could leverage on past successes in safeguarding the rights of employees to promote personal responsibility for health and wellness at workplaces.  The panellists also discussed practical activities that wellness committees and peer educators could implement to promote responsibility for personal and collective health and wellness.  Additionally it was noted that employees should not be seen in isolation of the communities that they live in and that there was value in businesses taking health and wellness activities to these communities.

From left, Lois Chingandu, Executive Director SAfAIDS, Christine Olivier, 2nd Deputy President NUMSA, Patricia Munetsi, Human Resources Manager Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, David Mutambara, Executive Director ZBCW

From left, Lois Chingandu, Executive Director SAfAIDS, Christine Olivier, 2nd Deputy President NUMSA, Patricia Munetsi, Human Resources Manager Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, David Mutambara, Executive Director ZBCW

SWHAP Achievement Award nominees show-cased wellness programmes addressing HIV, communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as lifestyle issues affecting employees and their families.  Presentations from Sodeico Manpower, Scanlink and Sandvik Mining South Africa demonstrated innovative ideas that are allowing companies to improve workplace wellness participation rates whilst also benefitting local communities. UD Trucks revealed initiatives being run by the company to promote male employees’ uptake of healthcare services. Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe showed how their supply chain programme had mentored 10 companies to implement HIV and wellness policies reaching over 5200 workers since 2011.

Achievement awards were presented at a gala dinner on the first day of the conference. Click on the pictures to read about the awards ceremony and the inspirational moving story of Tendayi Kateketa Westerhoff who chronicled her journey from testing to disclosure and advocacy.

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Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe winners of Most Comprehensive Programme 2015. From left Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, SWHAP, Patricia Munetsi, Sandvik Mining and Construction, Fortunate Munhuweyi, ZAPSO, Ian Bagshaw, Sandvik Mining and Construction and Annie Banda, Sandvik Zambia.

Tendayi Kateketa Westerhof

Tendayi Kateketa Westerhof

Day 2 of the conference focused on gender and getting input from the workplaces for the development of a gender and diversity mainstreaming tool. This followed an evaluation of SWHAP in 2013 which revealed that while current HIV and wellness programmes had some elements of gender incorporated into activities and interventions, approaches were not always consistent or integrated within other core areas of business.

Patsimeredu performing a drama on the intersection between culture, HIV, gender and gender based violence.

Patsimeredu performing a drama on the intersection between culture, HIV, gender and gender based violence.

Gender in the workplace affects all the core areas of business and left unaddressed can put both companies and communities in socio-economic vulnerability to issues like HIV, violence and poverty.  This affects the bottom line of business including the day-to-day operations and sustainability of companies. The gender and mainstreaming tool should assist workplaces in a more consistent approach to gender mainstreaming of their HIV and wellness programmes that is also integrated within other core areas of business. The tool is being developed in collaboration with the University of South Africa and is based on the gender mainstreaming approach developed by the ILO, who also participated at the conference with a presentation highlighting the business case for gender mainstreaming. Also in relation to gender Eva Atterlöv Frisell from the Regional Team for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, spoke on the Government of Sweden’s Strategy for sexual and reproductive health for Sub-Saharan Africa and how the Swedish Government is pursuing a feminist foreign policy whose aspects include upholding of human rights, increasing women’s representation and fair allocation of resources.

Group discussions on gender mainstreaming

Group discussions on gender mainstreaming

Quotes

The key to finally achieving that goal of zero new infections is that we all take responsibility for our behaviour. Employees and their families, employers and unions – all of us need to realise that It’s MY health, It’s YOUR health, it’s OUR health. As individuals, as workplaces, as society – we need to embrace our health. Lars G Malmer, SWHAP Board Chair

 A good foundation of healthy employees means that your business can be sustained even through economic hardships. Healthy employees are innovative out-of-the-box thinkers. Patricia Munetsi, Human Resources Manager, Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe

Invest in model communities. Communities that are empowered, communities that are resilient that can absorb shock. A stronger community will always churn out healthier employees. Lois Chingandu, Executive Director, SAfAIDS

Increase the productivity levels of your business operation through health investments – VCT, ART. Healthier and safer workers are more productive. Ida Tsitsi Chimedza, ILO

An advantage of SWHAP is that it comes in to build capacity so that companies have the necessary tools to continue with the programme. This is an important element for  the sustainability of programmes. Christine Olivier, 1st Deputy President, NUMSA

It is well known that there are clear links between a high level of gender equality and peaceful and democratic societies. Therefore working towards greater gender equality and ensuring women’s rights is at the heart of the Swedish Government’s foreign policy. Eva Atterlöv Frisell, First secretary- Regional Advisor, Regional Team for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)

Our advantage in the SWHAP family is that the 358 workplaces from 127 companies in 10 countries provide an ideal entry platform where a wider gender mainstreaming strategy can be negotiated between companies and other internal and external role-players and stakeholders to ensure sustainable business and make a marked difference in society like what SWHAP did in the field of HIV workplace programmes. Jacob Graaff, SWHAP Senior Advisor, South Africa

 We are convinced that if we are to gain progress in the field of health and wellbeing, the whole issue of gender inequality cannot be left aside. Ambassador Lars Ronnås

SWHAP 2015 Achievement Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2015 SWHAP Achievement Award winners. The awards were presented at a gala dinner held on 12 November and officiated by the Ambassador of Sweden to Zimbabwe Mr Lars Ronnås. Ambassador Ronnås, praised the collective efforts of unions, employers and employees coming together to address HIV and promote good health: “This programme is an excellent example on how employers and employees can join hands for a common cause. Swedish companies recognise that business is good for them when done with a sustainable approach. When trade unions look after the interest of their members, they recognise that thriving business is also to their benefits.”

The winner of the Award for Most Comprehensive Programme 2015 was presented to Sandvik Mining and Construction, Zimbabwe. UD Trucks from South Africa won the Award for Best Progress and Sodeico Manpower from the DRC were presented with the Award for Most Innovative Programme. Runner-up prizes  were also awarded to: Babcock Ntuthuko South Africa and Ericsson Uganda in the Most Comprehensive category; Shreeji Chemicals Kenya and Bayport Financial Services Zambia in the Best Progress category; and to Sandvik Mining South Africa and Scanlink Zimbabwe in the Most Innovative category.

The SWHAP Achievement Award was conceived in 2008 in order to encourage workplaces to strive for greater success in their programmes and to reward outstanding efforts. Read the motivations here.

Most Comprehensive Programme presented to Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe

Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, winner of Most Comprehensive Programme 2015. From left Patricia Munetsi and Ian Bagshaw.

Most Innovative Intervention- Sodeico Manpower DRC

Sodeico Manpower DRC, winner of Most Innovative Intervention 2015. From left, Yves Beleke, Alexandra Cardyn and Djo Moupondo from Sodeico Manpower with Mianda Mwepu Hatton and John Viner from SWHAP.

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UD Trucks South Africa on the left, winner of Best Progress 2015 with runner-up Shreeji Chemicals from Kenya. From left Helene Van Vuuren UD Trucks, Caroline Okeyo Shreeji Chemicals and Daniel Mwaura, SWHAP.

Babcock Ntuthuko South Africa, 2015 runner-up Most comprehensive Programme. From left, Anders Ferbe, Emmanuel Modikwane and Mary Kau fromm SWHAP, Mpho Matshane and Tarryn Muller from Babcock Ntuthuko, Lars G Malmer, SWHAP. Back row Jacob Graaff, SWHAP.

Babcock Ntuthuko South Africa, 2015 runner-up Most Comprehensive Programme. From left, Anders Ferbe, Emmanuel Modikwane and Mary Kau from SWHAP, Mpho Matshane and Tarryn Muller from Babcock Ntuthuko, Lars G Malmer, SWHAP. Back row Jacob Graaff, SWHAP.

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Bayport Financial Services Zambia runner-up for Best Progress 2015. From left Emily Dadai Chuunga, Wane Aron Msiska and Nzovwa Mulaisho from Bayport.

 

Sandvik Mining South Africa- runner-up for Most Innovative Intervention

Sandvik Mining South Africa- runner-up for Most Innovative Intervention. From left Anna Dean and Fokke Drijfhout from Sandvik Mining.

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Ericsson Uganda runner-up for Most Comprehensive Programme 2015. From left Daniel Mwaura, SWHAP Kenya, Caloryne Masinde and Dorothy Karungi Ericsson Uganda, Lars G Malmer, SWHAP.

Blessmore Mukizhe from Scanlink Zimbabwe, the 2015 runner-up for Most Innovative Intervention.

Blessmore Mukizhe from Scanlink Zimbabwe, the 2015 runner-up for Most Innovative Intervention.

My Story – Tendayi Kateketa Westerhof

Tendayi Kateketa Westerhof, Regional Coordinator Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition (PAPWC)

Tendayi Kateketa Westerhof, Regional Coordinator Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition (PAPWC)

Tendayi Kateketa Westerhof a Zimbabwean HIV activist who has been living positively with HIV for more than 14 years shared her inspiring story during the SWHAP Achievement Awards gala dinner.

Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with HIV 14 years ago (2002). This was a life changing experience for me. During those years stigma was so rife that it was not easy to disclose one’s HIV status to family members, friends let alone publicly. Like many people who discovered that they are HIV positive, I lived a double life as I was unable to disclose my secret to most people for fear of discrimination. 

Denial

I kept my HIV positive status to myself for close to one year and during that time I suffered emotionally and mentally as I thought my life was going to end. I was in denial because I looked healthy and was not sick. In my case, it was even worse because I was a public figure, a fashion model and business woman in the beauty business.

Disclosure

As I was a public figure I realised that I had so much influence in the general public as many people looked up to people like me. This gave me the urge to disclose my HIV status.  First it was to my very close family members.  Yes they were very surprised at first because they did not think I could be HIV positive.  My greatest buddy was my mother who gave me all the support I needed and told me that she was still my mother who loved me and that HIV was not an issue.  I was resilient despite the challenges I faced during that time.  I continued to learn more about HIV and my urge to disclose my HIV status publicly continued to grow stronger and stronger.  I had to speak out. I felt that public figures must speak out about this disease that was claiming thousands of people every day not only in Zimbabwe but the world over.  I realized that as a woman living with HIV, I could contribute towards changes in laws, policies and practices in my country and across the globe if I spoke out about my HIV status. By the end of 2003 I had disclosed my HIV status publicly.

The pregnancy and the baby

I had to deal with the twin burden of being HIV positive and pregnant at the same time. I learnt about the PMTCT programme (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) which was being offered for free in all hospitals. I made an informed choice to protect my unborn baby from contracting HIV from me by enrolling in the programme.  I was already on ARV treatment and six weeks before I delivered my baby I was given AZT ARV prophylaxis to reduce the transmission of HIV to my baby.  I made a choice to deliver by caesarean section. I was coerced into sterilization as my doctor said it was not advisable for me to have more children in future because of the HIV condition which he said was a threat to my health. Forced sterilization for HIV positive pregnant women was happening those days but no one dared to speak openly about it due to ignorance. I did not know that it was a violation of my human rights.

My baby was given Nevirapine a few hours after birth, and I was advised not to breastfeed as it was believed at that time that breastfeeding posed a potential risk of HIV transmission from the mother to the child. I missed breastfeeding my baby as breastfeeding increases the bonding between mother and child, but I did not have many choices at that time.  So I depended only on milk formula for my baby which was very expensive. Sometimes I could not afford the formula and friends and family would step in to help.

By the time my baby was 18 months I had learnt so much about HIV and AIDS and this encouraged me to take her for HIV testing through a private medical doctor.  Yes I must admit that I was a little bit scared as I did not know whether I was going to cope with my own HIV positive status or that of my baby if she was found to be HIV positive.  The two week waiting period for my baby’s HIV test result was so painful.  Finally I got the results. I remember jumping out of my chair, screaming with joy and hugging my doctor when he told me she was HIV negative.

Passionate Advocate

I went on television to announce the exciting news and one national newspaper carried the story.  My speaking out about the success of PMTCT encouraged many pregnant women to get tested for HIV and to enrol on the programme.  More testimonies followed of the children born free from HIV after their mothers had enrolled on the PMTCT programme. Today my child is 13 years old healthy and has never suffered any serious medical condition.  I am on ART for life and have an undetectable viral load.