Please click on the link for the latest East Africa Regional newsletter June 2014 Newsletter
Please click on the link for the latest newsletter May 2014 Newsletter
At the end of 2013 SWHAP commissioned a short film documenting its work in Sub-Sahara Africa. The film shot by Stark Corporate Communications, a Swedish production company, sought to capture the diversity of workplace programmes, the benefits of these programmes and the partnerships between unions and management working together to address HIV and wellness in their workplaces and communities. Filming took place over three months, in three countries and at eight workplaces. Participating companies in Zambia included, Sandvik, Atlas Copco, Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company and Panorama; in Tanzania, Sandvik, Scania and Agro EcoEnergy; ABB, South Africa; and Scania, Botswana.
Thank you to all who made this film possible and in particular to Iddi Abdallah Ramadhani, workplace champion from Agro EcoEnergy Tanzania.
You can read more about the film here.
Two version of the film are available, to view the eight minute full-length film please click play below:
(If you have slow bandwidth click the HD button on the bottom right-hand corner of the viewing screen to disable HD and view the film in Standard-definition)
Alternatively, you can watch the two minute film here:
Malaria is a significant health and business risk. It is responsible for decreased productivity, employee absenteeism and increased health care costs. Malaria is a frequently recurring disease and cumulatively results in much lost work over time. Additionally the disease most impacts those under the age of five resulting in employees taking time off work to look after dependants. In Africa malaria costs more than US$12 billion annually in lost productivity.
According to the World Health Organisation, increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing malaria burden in many places. Between 2000 and 2012 scale-up of interventions helped reduce incidence by 31% in Africa. Despite these gains approximately half of the world’s population is at risk from malaria with most of the cases and deaths taking place in Africa. Populations most at risk from contracting malaria include, HIV positive individuals, young children who have not yet developed immunity to the disease, pregnant women (HIV positive women with malaria infection of the placenta have a higher risk of passing HIV infection to their new-borns) and international travellers from non-endemic areas. Moreover factors such as insecticide resistance and resistance to antimalarial drugs are undermining malaria control. Many anopheles mosquitoes are becoming resistant to traditional insecticides, making mechanical forms of protection such as use of insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) especially important. Scientists estimate that proper use of ITNs can reduce malaria cases by up to a third. “Invest in the future. Defeat Malaria”, the theme for 2014 and 2015 highlights the need for continued investment in malaria prevention and control.
SWHAP partners include malaria prevention and control programmes in their workplace programmes. Workplace interventions include distribution of treated bed nets, awareness raising programmes conducted by peer educators, environmental programmes including access to safer water, clean-up campaigns and outreach to communities. Last year Sandvik Zambia sponsored a wellness stand at the Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show in Kitwe. Over 3000 health checks were conducted for blood pressure, blood sugar, malaria Body Mass Index and HIV. Of the 703 people tested for malaria 16 were diagnosed positive for malaria and were referred for treatment. Early diagnosis of malaria is important in reducing the spread of the disease and preventing deaths. In addition to in-house activities many companies within the SWHAP network also support national efforts towards malaria prevention and control. Atlas Copco Zambia, for example donates towards National Events Committees, supporting them to carry out activities such as indoor residual spraying.
Best Practice Workplace Malaria Control Efforts
- Identify malaria as a health risk
- Include malaria in the company’s workplace wellness programme
- Increase workplace and community awareness about malaria
- Distribute repellents and ITNs to employees and their families
- Provide access to ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) in-house or through local health services
- Engage the local community in planning, advocacy and implementation
- If feasible conduct indoor residual spraying of employee’s homes
- Employ environmentally conscious practices to reduce concentration of larvae and mosquitoes
- Expand programmes into the supply chain
- Use partnerships, public-private and/or private-private partnerships to expand reach and impact of workplace programme
Adapted from Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria- Taking Action Now: Workplace Programmes As Vehicles to Tackle HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria
This article refers to the SWHAP film. To see the films, please follow this link.
The film is based on a series of interviews with participants from the SWHAP programme. Through the course of the eight minute film, Peer Educators, CEOs, employees, workplace programme coordinators and trade union representatives share on the different aspects of the programme.
Workplace programmes have saved and improved the lives of many employees. Key to this has been acceptance and implementation of workplace HIV and wellness policies that recognise employees as valuable assets and seek to create supportive environments where both employees and companies are protected against the effects of HIV and AIDS and other medical conditions. Testimonies from workplace champions such as Iddi Abdallah Ramadhani demonstrate how HIV and wellness programmes are creating working cultures that are free from discrimination and making companies employers of choice.
Workplace programmes have also delivered tangible results for the employers in terms of reduced health care costs and healthier workers who are generally more productive. Some companies have managed to lower their workplace pension and health premiums by being able to demonstrate that their workplace programmes have radically improved the health of the workforce.
Of importance has been the co-financing model that encourages companies to take responsibility for their employee’s health. Co-funding is provided over a three year period with gradually decreasing levels of funding from SWHAP.
Union participation in the programme has been vital to the successes achieved. The SWHAP model requires that both management and employees of participating companies share responsibility for the identification of needs and the formulation and implementation of programmes through representative workplace committees. This collaboration has built trust amongst all parties, improved corporate governance, increased transparency, accountability and access to information for employees.
The supply chain
Once companies have well established workplace programmes they are encouraged to reach out to their supply chain. The SWHAP Supply Chain and Mentorship model facilitates the sharing of HIV and wellness knowledge, skills and experiences through the principles of mentorship, participatory learning, networking and on-going support. Such programmes are helping to build capacity in small to medium enterprises that would not ordinarily have the resources to start-up and maintain their own programmes. Of benefit to SWHAP partners is the improvement in the reliability and quality of products and services as a result of a healthier workforce amongst suppliers.
SWHAP also runs mentorship programmes with unions. Programmes in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia are helping to build capacity both within the unions and the workplaces where the unions have representation.
The majority of employees in the SWHAP network are male, resulting in a disproportionate access to HIV and wellness information and services between the employees and their spouses. Reaching out to families and to spouses in particular closes this gap. Spousal programmes are creating an enabling environment for discussing pertinent issues such as safer sex, partner counselling, testing and voluntary disclosure of HIV status. In Zambia and Zimbabwe Spousal programmes have grown to incorporate income generating projects which provide a platform for dialogue around HIV and wellness issues as well as providing a source of income. Additionally trained spouses are taking the lead in community outreach programmes further spreading information on HIV, promoting testing and reaching audiences that would not ordinarily been accessible through workplace programmes.
The film making collaboration process
Stark Corporate Communications collaborated with SWHAP to make the film a reality. Producer Patrik Malmer shares a few thoughts on the rationale of the filming process and the importance of the partnership.
“Stark works with many large Swedish companies with a global reach. Some of our customers, for example SKF and Ericsson, do business in Africa and are engaged in the SWHAP programme.We felt that the important work of SWHAP needed to be documented, in order to share information and to promote the programme and the people engaged in it.
Personally, going to Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa to meet these people and see, first hand, what great work they do, was a great experience and a privilege. With the film, we have tried to depict different aspects of the programme: both the corporate view and the union engagement as well as the personal impact for those who work with, and those who are benefiting from, the programme. One of these people was Iddi Abdallah, working for the Swedish company Eco Energy. Had he not come in contact with SWHAP, he would surely have died a long time ago. I am really glad to have met this man, with his glimpse in the eye and careful smile.
Iddi and others we interviewed show the importance of companies and individuals, like Michael from Atlas Copco and Dorothy from Sandvik, engaging themselves in other peoples’ well-being. I only wish we could tell all the stories and show all the wonderful people we met in workplaces, in women’s groups and in the field, but that would be a really long film.”
Congratulations to Ian Bagshaw, Managing Director of Sandvik Zimbabwe who completed the gruelling Ironman Challenge in a time of 12 hours, nine minutes and 26 seconds. The Ironman Triathlon is a long distance race consisting of a 3.8 km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run. Ian Bagshaw was fortunate to be part of “Team Smiddy” (www.smiddy.org.au) an amazing group of people that raise funds for research into the causes, prevention and improved treatments of cancer. Raising the profile of cancer is a cause close to the hearts of those at Sandvik. In the last two years the Sandvik HIV and Wellness programme has supported two members of staff who were diagnosed with cancer to full recovery. The two employees are now cancer ambassadors at Sandvik sharing information on the importance of regular check- ups and early detection.
In more news from Sandvik Zimbabwe, the company launched their second supply chain programme in February. Three companies, Servcor, Dairyhill and Bindura Nickel will be mentored by Sandvik to set up HIV and Wellness programmes. At a recent management sensitisation session, management from the supply chain companies expressed their excitement about the programme’s focus on promoting proactive health seeking behaviours amongst their respective workforces.
On the 22nd of February Revco Peer Educators provided training on potato sack farming and HIV and wellness outreach to 284 ward councillors in Zvishavane, Zimbabwe. This was at the invitation of the Senator for Midlands, Lillian Timveous, who is also the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS.
The Revco Peer Educators presented information on the major drivers of HIV and conducted Bridges of Hope exercises. 6000 male condoms and 300 female condoms were distributed in the beer halls and night clubs surrounding the training venue. Information and posters on human trafficking were also distributed. This is amid concerns that the declining socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe is fuelling human trafficking with many young women being lured into the commercial sex trade.
This community outreach initiative is an extension of the Revco HIV & AIDS and Wellness Programme. Increasingly workplace programmes are looking at health in a holistic manner, addressing factors influencing physical, psychological and societal health, recognising that good health is not just the absence of disease. Part of this focus also includes financial health an important aspect of wellness. Revco Peer Educators use potato sack farming training (a low cost initiative that boots household food security as well as generating extra income) as platform for sharing information on health and wellness.
Religion has a significant impact on how we seek medical care and how we respond to health promotion messages. While a value and belief system is important for health and well-being, certain religious practices can play a negative role in how individuals seek medical care and adhere to treatment regimes. Some religious sects in Southern Africa have created barriers to open discussion on HIV, denouncing the use of anti-retrovirals and calling for faith healing, whilst others believe and teach that HIV is a curse from God. These practices reinforce stigma within communities, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to addressing HIV and AIDS.
Junior Ndimande a Peer Educator from ABB, recently conducted an outreach in his community to promote dialogue about HIV, stigma and discrimination. His message to the community was that HIV is not a curse but a disease requiring treatment! Prayer and treatment can be complimentary.
Churches have an important role to play in promoting responsible behaviour without being judgmental especially in sub- Saharan Africa where faith based organisations provide up to 70% of healthcare. (WHO)
After the success and popularity of the 2013 Christmas Road Safety and Wellness Campaign, Scania South Africa in partnership with SWHAP and other stakeholders is running another campaign over the period leading up to the Easter weekend. The Scania Easter Road Safety and Wellness Campaign will be from the 14th to 17th of April and will offer wellness checks for bus and truck drivers as well as free vehicle inspections by Scania technicians.
The campaign will be on the N1 (North and South directions) at selected Shell Ultra City service stations in Polokwane. This route is especially important during Easter as one of the largest Christian gatherings in South Africa takes place at Zion City in Moria near Polokwane. Each year more than 20 000 buses pass through the Polokwane area as members of the Zion Christian Church travel to and from their church headquarters at Zion City for the Easter services. This is a big service with many congregants coming from other Southern African countries.
Bus and truck drivers passing through these routes will have access to wellness and HIV tests, with referrals for further treatment and follow-up being made where necessary.
Road safety amongst truck and bus drivers in South Africa is of major concern due to high death rates resulting from trucks and buses not adhering to the requirements regarding correct roadworthiness. Additionally due to poor lifestyle and difficult working conditions, often the truck drivers themselves have health conditions that are undiagnosed or not managed. This increases the risk of accidents on the roads, due to ill health and fatigue while driving. High levels of blood pressure and higher than average levels of HIV infection have been reported amongst this group. Through this community outreach initiative targeting driver’s health, Scania is contributing to making the roads safer during the Easter period.