2016 High-Level Meeting On Ending AIDS

SWHAP was honoured to have been invited to be part of the official Swedish delegation to the 2016 High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS held in New York at the beginning of June.  The meeting focused “the world’s attention on the importance of a Fast-Track approach to the AIDS response”. During the meeting United Nations Member States agreed to reach ambitious targets by 2020 including, “fewer than 500 000 people newly infected with HIV, fewer than 500 000 people dying from AIDS-related causes and  the elimination of HIV-related discrimination” in order to end AIDS by 2030 (UNAIDS).

The Fast Track strategy forms part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular Goal 3, ensuring “Good health and wellbeing” for all. It encapsulates a broader approach to addressing HIV and AIDS, recognising other factors that will contribute to successful delivery such as gender equality, laws and policies that block effective implementation of HIV responses, reducing inequalities and promoting partnerships amongst stakeholders.

Achievement of the targets laid out in the SDGs requires a tremendous financial investment that many governments will not be able to match alone and there is growing consensus on the important role the private sector must play. Along with financial resources the private sector has structures, skills, technology and innovative solutions that can contribute to the achievement of the targets.

For business this is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense as the SDGs strengthen the environment for doing business, through for example, mitigating operational risk and increasing social and political license to operate. Specifically, where HIV and AIDS are concerned, an actuarial cost impact assessment conducted for SWHAP revealed that companies that invested in comprehensive wellness management and sexually transmitted infections (STI) programmes and earlier initiation onto treatment for positive workers could potentially make a 47% saving on the loss that would be incurred if no programme was initiated.

Comprehensive workplace programmes with prerequisite HIV and wellness policies protect the rights of all employees and address many structural barriers to testing, which is the key entry point to treatment, care and support. Moreover, as has been the experience within the SWHAP network, partnership with Unions can result in higher testing outcomes as Unions advocate for members to participate in programmes.

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Many workplace programmes also address the gender dimensions of HIV and create platforms for raising awareness on the sexual and reproductive health rights of traditionally stigmatised groups such as men who have sex with men and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed (LGBTI).

There is a clear business case for private sector engagement in the SDGs and in particular ending AIDS. It represents an opportunity to create shared value and contribute to sustainable development for all. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are the way forward, together we can end AIDS in this generation.

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Road Safety and Health Campaigns

Scania Driver Competition- Kenya

During May, Scania in Kenya partnered with SWHAP to provide HIV and wellness testing for truck and bus drivers through the Scania Driver Competition. The annual competition promotes road safety, driver’s health and acknowledges the driver as the most important asset for achieving economy and safety in driving.

The first phase of the competition involved a three-week registration exercise along truck stops on the highway from Mombasa to Nairobi. During the registration process HIV and wellness tests were made available for competition participants and communities around the truck stops. Over the three week period over 600 people were tested for HIV. Clients that tested positive were followed-up using local community mechanisms that help to ensure uptake of care and treatment services.

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This initiative by Scania is important as drivers’ general health impacts on their ability to do their jobs. Moreover, HIV prevalence amongst this group in East Africa is higher than the national average. Due to the nature of their work, long distance bus and truck drivers spend the majority of their time in transit along the highways far away from their families. This absence from their families often leads to high risk sexual behaviour, transactional sex and multiple sexual partners along major towns and stopover points. It is thus also important to offer counselling and testing services to these communities.

Scania are hoping to reach 9500 drivers, spectators and community members with information on HIV and non-communicable diseases and opportunities for testing during the course of the competition. Testing will also be provided during the regional heats of the competition scheduled for July and August, with the finals to be held in October in Nairobi.

Botswana 

Atlas Copco and Scania Botswana, working in partnership with UNITRANS, the Department of Road Transportation and Safety, Botswana Police, the Ministry of Health and other local actors ran a two-day programme on “Fatigue Management and Road Safety” between 27 and 28 May. The programme was conducted at the busy Mahalapye Bus Rank, 360 kilometres from Gaborone. As well as raising awareness on road safety the programme provided wellness testing for bus and truck drivers and members of the public. Over the two days 300 people including 56 school children were reached with messages on road safety and 55 people participated in the wellness tests. The event was covered in the national press and broadcast on national television.

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Wellness tests during the Botswana campaign

Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe visit Stockholm

Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe was the winner of the SWHAP Achievement Award for Most Comprehensive Programme 2015. The award was in recognition of the company’s comprehensive approach to addressing the health of employees and outstanding efforts in community outreach and mentoring suppliers and customers. As part of the prize Sandvik Zimbabwe Territory Director Ian Bagshaw and Workers Committee Chair Amos Limbani travelled to Sweden to meet with Sandvik in Stockholm and Sandviken as well as NIR and IF Metall.

From left Ian Bagshaw, Managing Director Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, Matts Berge, HR Manager for Global Sales Sandvik AB, Amos Limbani, Workers Committee Chair Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, Regional Coordinator SWHAP and Conny Rask, Media Relations Manager Sandvik Mining

From left Ian Bagshaw, Territory Manager Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, Matts Berge, HR Manager for Global Sales Sandvik AB, Amos Limbani, Workers’ Committee Chair Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, Regional Coordinator SWHAP and Conny Rask, Media Relations Manager Sandvik Mining, during a tour of Sandvik in Sandviken.

During an interactive meeting attended by members of NIR and the SWHAP team, Sandvik shared how they are addressing gender within their workplace and community. Sandvik has partnered with a local women’s shelter and gender advocacy organisation, Musasa Project, to run a workplace programme addressing the impact of social media on sexual harassment. Sandvik also donated 60 sewing machines to the organisation for use in its income generation project for survivors of gender based violence.

Additionally, Sandvik Zimbabwe highlighted how the company’s community outreach programme is enabling them to reach spouses of employees with Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) training as well as providing access to income generation projects. Sandvik Zimbabwe is also supporting youth in and out of schools to access Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), giving them a better chance of securing employment. The training includes a life skills session where age appropriate information on HIV and AIDS is shared.

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

Ian Bagshaw and Amos Limbani, Sandvik Mining and Construction Ziimbabwe

Ian Bagshaw and Amos Limbani from Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe next to a statue of Göran Fredrik Göransson, founder of Sandvik.

Ending Malaria for Good – World Malaria Day 2016

Is it possible to end malaria in a generation?

According to a 2015 report from the United Nations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (From Aspiration to Action-What Will It Take to End Malaria) eradicating malaria by 2040 could be possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already set targets to reduce global malaria cases and deaths by at least 90% by 2030. Ending the disease globally would save approximately “11 million lives and unlock an estimated $2 trillion in economic benefits” (endmalaria2040.org).

We have seen what concerted action can achieve. Between 2000 and 2015 the global malaria mortality rate was reduced by 60% and an estimated 6.2 million lives were saved as a result of a scale- up of malaria intervention (rollbackmalaria.org). Additionally, 57 countries achieved reductions in new malaria cases of at least 75% (WHO).

Factors contributing to these successes were the expansion of effective tools to prevent and treat malaria, such as treated bed nets, diagnostic testing and antimalarial medicines. Continued investment in these areas as well as in monitoring structures and research in vaccines and insecticides is required to achieve the end of malaria. As the Global Fund reminds us that “gains remain fragile. If efforts are neglected, malaria could resurge within just one infectious season” (globalfund.org).

SWHAP partners working in malaria endemic areas include malaria prevention and control initiatives within their workplace HIV and wellness programmes. These programmes are run through HIV and wellness committees with representatives from both management and employees and interventions include; distribution of treated bed nets, testing opportunities and access to treatment through workplace wellness days, environmental programmes including access to safer water, clean-up campaigns and outreach to communities. Programmes raise awareness on the links between HIV and malaria (malaria increases HIV viral load) and on the gender dynamics of malaria. Gender norms that affect the division of labour and sleeping arrangements can lead to different patterns of exposure to mosquitoes for men and women. There are also gender disparities in the accessing and use of malaria interventions.

This month SWHAP partners will join the global community in commemorating World Malaria Day through events to mobilise against malaria. One example is Scania Hazida in Zambia who will conduct malaria awareness and provide testing for members of staff, while the company Peer Educators distribute leaflets on malaria to customers.

This World Malaria Day let’s all play our part in contributing to “ending malaria for good”.

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Malaria Key Facts

  • In 2015, there were 214 million cases, and 438 000 deaths from Malaria
  • 2 billion(almost half of the world population) are at risk
  • In 2015, 97 countrieshad on-going malaria transmission
  • US$ 5.1 billion is needed every year, double the funding available

Source rollbackmalaria.org

Read more about malaria and gender

http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/files/files/about/SDGs/RBM_Gender_Fact_Sheet_170915.pdf

Halt the Rise Beat Diabetes- World Health Day 2016

Halt the Rise Beat Diabetes- World Health Day 2016

Diabetes affects 350 million people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization diabetes is also “more than just a health issue”. It has economic consequences, creating an economic burden on society due to the costs of treatment and decrease in productivity as a result of absenteeism or disability.

The World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimate that the diabetes population in Africa will double over the next 25 years. The main cause for this sharp increase is being attributed to increased urbanisation with sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected region. Urbanisation is associated with, the adoption of diets high in fat, sugar and salt as well as decreased regular physical activity and obesity. The complications of Type 2 Diabetes which include heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are expensive to treat but can largely be avoided through early detection, treatment adherence and lifestyle changes. Education and prevention are thus key in addressing diabetes and the private sector is in a good position to help.

What can the workplace do to help employees and their families?

  1. Share information on the causes, prevention and treatment of diabetes at the workplace.
  2. Provide opportunities for testing at the workplace for employees and their families through, for example wellness days.
  3. Provide follow-up support for those employees that have been diagnosed with diabetes or those considered at risk for diabetes.
  4. Help employees address the modifiable risk factors of diabetes through encouraging more active lifestyles and workplace nutrition programmes.
  5. Have in place workplace policies that protect the rights of employees and programmes in place that address discrimination and the gender differentiated health needs of all employees.

Addressing the modifiable risk factors of diabetes is also of benefit to those affected by other communicable and non-communicable diseases including HIV as preventative steps in relation to nutrition and lifestyle changes can assist in keeping the immune system healthy. Additionally there are some HIV medications that may increase the risk of diabetes underscoring the importance of prevention programmes.

World Health Day observed on 7 April each year celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948.  Each year a theme is chosen to raise awareness on a specific public health concern.  For more information, access the World Health Day Resources here.

Read more about HIV and diabetes here

Programmes do not have to be costly. Ulrich Seats in South Africa encourages physical activity at the workplace through lunch time social soccer and a weekly "Social Walk" that also promotes better interaction between management and employees.

Programmes do not have to be costly. Ulrich Seats in South Africa encourages physical activity at the workplace through lunch time social soccer and a weekly “Social Walk” that also promotes better interaction between management and employees.

As part of their community outreach activities last year HemoCue Kenya in partnership with a local organisation conducted awareness and testing for diabetes at Strathmore University reaching 1360 staff and students of the University. This figure represented a 400% increase in the numbers tested in previous years. Providing opportunities for testing is important as 62% of people in Africa remain undiagnosed and are at a higher risk of developing complications (International Diabetes Federation).

As part of their community outreach activities last year HemoCue Kenya in partnership with a local organisation conducted awareness and testing for diabetes at Strathmore University reaching 1360 staff and students of the University. This figure represented a 400% increase in the numbers tested in previous years. Providing opportunities for testing is important as 62% of people in Africa remain undiagnosed and are at a higher risk of developing complications (International Diabetes Federation).

 

 

 

Management Sensitisation and Steering Committee Training

During February and March management sensitisation was held at Tanalec in Tanzania, Ericsson in Zimbabwe, Panaco in the DRC and for Atlas Copco, Auto Sueco, Ericsson, Bayport, VerdeAzul and Tecnel in Mozambique. The training covered the impact of HIV and AIDS in the workplace as well as the SWHAP approach, which emphasizes cooperation between management and employees in the formulation and implementation of workplace HIV and wellness programmes. At the end of the training, managers from the three companies understood: the issues relating to HIV prevention and treatment at the workplace, the processes involved in setting up a workplace programme, the advocacy role of management in communicating the value of workplace programmes and the importance of creating opportunities for employees to take part in programme activities.

The Tanalec steering committee also underwent training to rebuild capacity for members to steer the workplace programme as a new committee was reconstituted after staff changes at the company. The steering committee started their policy review process to update the workplace HIV and AIDS policy to include gender and wellness.

Tanelec Steering Committee made up of representatives from management and workers

Tanelec Steering Committee made up of representatives from management and workers

In related news on steering committee training, on 12 February 55 members of La Confédération Syndicale du Congo (CSC) attended a steering committee capacity building workshop held during the Union’s annual meeting for its new members. The training covered transmission and prevention of HIV, benefits of HIV testing services and the development of action plans for HIV workplace programmes. 38 participants learnt their HIV status through testing services provided during the training.

CSC is a union confederation represented at national level in the DRC, a member of IndsutriALL and a great platform to expand the impact of SWHAP in the DRC beyond Swedish companies. The workshop in February reached representatives from 25 different companies.

Past experience has shown that successful and sustainable workplace programmes have the buy-in of both management and worker’s representatives and as such management sensitisation and steering committee training create a platform for mutual understanding.

Peer Educator Training

Sexual reproductive health training in South Africa

On 18 February, 19 Peer Educators from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), SKF, Phillip Morris International, Sandvik, Assa Abloy, Scania and Alfa Laval attended a workshop on sexual reproductive health and sexually transmitted infections. In line with efforts to create more cost effective and sustainable networking, SKF South Africa hosted the Peer Educator network meeting.

Peer Education training in South Africa

Peer Education training in South Africa

Extending gender mainstreaming to communities in Zambia

39 Spouse Peer Educators from SKF, Atlas Copco and Sandvik participated in gender mainstreaming training on 11 March in Kitwe. The aim of the training was to accelerate gender mainstreaming in spousal programming for the promotion of gender empowerment and equity. Through the training participants developed a clearer understanding of gender concepts and capacity to incorporate gender action points into their community peer education activities. Participants were divided into their company groups to create gender mainstreaming action plans.

Challenging gender sterotypes

Challenging gender sterotypes

Engaging male employees through edutainment programmes

The SWHAP Zimbabwe HIV and Wellness Edutainment programme came to a close at the end of 2015.  The project addressed, HIV prevention and treatment, stigma, discrimination, sexual harassment, gender based violence and non-communicable diseases through dramas at participating partners’ workplaces.

Over an eight-month period 26 performances were conducted at five workplaces reaching 785 employees, the majority (655) of whom were male. The project was successful in targeting male dominated workplaces and opening up dialogue on issues which otherwise would have been taboo.  Feedback from male participants suggested that the edutainment programme provided a fun way for them to reflect on some of the male driven social and cultural drivers of HIV in a safe environment. The dramas including post drama discussions were filmed and distributed to participating workplaces as a further resource for employees to share with their families and communities.

Post drama discussions at Ericom Communications Zimbabwe

Post drama discussions at Ericom Communications Zimbabwe

International Women’s Day Celebrations

The Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme and its partners held various events to commemorate International Women’s Day. In Tanzania Scania held an awareness session on the importance of empowering women through education, whilst in Botswana and Zimbabwe dialogues were held focusing on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) and gender parity. The objective of the dialogues was to reflect on the progress in HIV prevention strategies for women as well as the accessibility and uptake of services by women. Discussions also highlighted the gender and cultural issues that continue to negatively impact women’s health.

Scania Tanzania held an awareness session entitled “Educating a woman is more than educating a nation” highlighting the importance of empowering women through education

Scania Tanzania held an awareness session entitled “Educating a woman is more than educating a nation” highlighting the importance of empowering women through education

The dialogue in Botswana was held in partnership with Scania Botswana, The Midweek Sun newspaper and Tebelopele, Botswana’s largest non-governmental provider of HIV testing services. 82 men and women from various organisations in the private and public sector attended the dialogue, which received extensive media coverage both in the local press and on national television. Speakers included Dr Veronica Leburu, Deputy Director Ministry of Health and Dr Gang Sun, UNAIDS Country Director.

This is the second time such a dialogue has been held in Botswana. In 2015 SWHAP partnered with the International Labour Organization and Scania to host an International Women’s Day SRHR Conference. The conference raised awareness on the importance of International Women’s Day as a platform for addressing women’s health and rights in the context of HIV and AIDS. The forum also offered opportunities for health tests and 11 women took the HIV test for the first time.

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Caroline Thlkane from the Scania Botswana wellness committee making her contribution during the dialogue

Discussions in Zimbabwe looked at the power dynamics in HIV transmission, testing, counselling and treatment and making the case for action among workers and families. Participants were encouraged to make commitments to safer relationships by for example, committing to disclose any infection that could be passed on to sexual partners and spouses and to commit to helping to achieve gender parity in their families, relationships, communities and country.

Expert panel, Martha Tholanah, International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS Zimbabwe, Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, SWHAP, Tendai Kateketa Westerhof, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition and David Mutambara, Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness.

Expert panel, Martha Tholanah, International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS Zimbabwe, Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, SWHAP, Tendai Kateketa Westerhof, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition and David Mutambara, Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness.

 

In line with their tradition, Atlas Copco Zambia celebrated International Women’s Day by purchasing fabric for all the female employees to make outfits in their preferred styles.  The clothes were worn during a workplace awareness session on “Gender is my agenda: Make it happen for women” and at the Chingola District celebrations.

Atlas Copco Zambia employees in orange with police officers from the Victim Support Unit (a unit that deals with gender based violence) at the Chingola District celebrations

Atlas Copco Zambia employees in orange with police officers from the Victim Support Unit (a unit that deals with gender based violence) at the Chingola District celebrations

ABB Cancer Shavathon

Two Peer Educators from ABB Alrode, Maureen Chirwa and Christine Ndlovu, participated in the Cancer Association of South Africa Shavathon fund raising exercise. The initiative raises money for cancer research with a core focus on early diagnosis and cancer risk reduction. The peer educators invited participants to make donations, shave or colour their hair as symbolic gestures to show solidarity with those affected by cancer (losing one’s hair is a common side-effect of cancer therapy). The exercise also raised awareness on cancer and the importance of early detection. Raising awareness on cancer is important for HIV programmes as HIV increases the risk of developing cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cervical cancer.

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