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

SWHAP network events in South Africa

SWHAP has found networking events to be a relatively low cost means to maintaining momentum within the different key groups involved in the workplace programmes. SWHAP routinely organises network meetings for key stakeholders such as Peer Educators, CEOs, union representatives and occupational health practitioners providing opportunities for training and exchange of experiences.

Occupational Health Practitioners

Occupational Health Practitioners can experience stress as a result of their jobs. They can very easily take on the burdens of their colleagues leaving them feeling overwhelmed, burdened and burnt out.  Ten Occupational Health Practitioners from six companies had the opportunity to attend a debriefing session where they were trained on understanding the importance of a healthy work-life balance and developing a personal care plan.

Champions

The Champions networking workshop was held on June 26th, with a focus on the Human Sciences Research Council’s South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour  Survey, 2012. The objectives of the workshop were to help participants to identify the prevalence and incidence of HIV infection in South Africa in relation to social and behavioural determinants and to develop workplace programmes that are responsive to the outcomes of the Survey in line with the current National Strategic Plan 2012-2016.

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Participants at the Champions networking workshop

Ericsson Kenya Community Outreach

Ericsson employees in Kenya have donated a much-needed water tank to an under privileged school located in Kibera slum, (the largest slum in Africa). The 3 000 litre capacity tank was purchased using funds raised from staff raffles.

IMG_5799“The tank was well received by the learners who, until now, did not have access to constant supply of clean water. The water tank will lessen the learners’ dependence on contaminated water that causes communicable diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea”- Margaret Mutisya, Ericsson Human Resources Manager

This initiative was spearheaded by the Ericsson Wellness Committee who have done a lot to alleviate the living conditions of the children at the school, many of whom are orphaned. In addition to the water tank the Ericsson Workplace Wellness Programme has consistently supplied St Stephen’s School with food parcels, books and moral support to encourage the children to continue with their education. The school has a feeding programme, which ensures that pupils receive at least two nutritional meals a day.

DRC Programme Visit

IMG-20140614-WA0010_resizedSWHAP partners in the DRC had the opportunity to meet with the SWHAP Programme Manager, John Viner, to discuss the progress of the programme in the DRC. Also in attendance was NIR’s CEO, Jonas Borglin, who provided participants with an overview of NIR and NIR’s focus areas.

The partners expressed positive feedback on the SWHAP model in promoting healthy and sustainable workplaces and the management union partnership promoted by the programme. The partners did, however, note some implementation challenges such as a lack of sufficient material and tools in French and local dialects, and a limited number of service providers.

The SWHAP programme was launched in the DRC during 2012 and has already successfully resulted in five companies completing the start-up phase of the programme and four actually embarking on co-funded workplace programmes. An additional two companies joined the programme this year and are participating in the start-up phase.

South African National Standards (SANS) Training

In July SWHAP organised a SANS 16001:2013 Wellness and Disease (including HIV and TB) Management System training workshop for its partners. The training attracted 19 participants from 12 companies including of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) and was held at SKF. The SANS 16001:2013 standard was developed to assist organisations to implement minimum standards for wellness and disease management. It sets out proactive interventions that an organisation can implement to prevent ill health and improve upon or maintain the health of its employees. It encompasses health conditions that are not commonly occupationally induced.

At the end of the workshop all participants were given certificates with the facilitator noting that the class of 2014 was the best ever in terms of engaging with the course content and deliberating issues during the course of the workshop.

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Group work during the SANS training

Kenya Private Sector Consultative Forum

S1290032SWHAP in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and HIV/AIDS Kenya supported a private sector partners’ consultative forum on workplace HIV and AIDS programmes. This was with a view towards contributing to the development of the new National Strategic Framework (Kenya and AIDS strategic framework for 2014/5- 2018/9). Participants at the meeting included, SWHAP partners, representatives from the Kenya National Aids Control Council (NACC), affiliate Unions of the Central Organisation of Trade Union (COTU) and other private sector partners.

During the course of the meeting SWHAP discussed cost sharing strategies and the SWHAP catalytic co-funding model that gradually encourages companies to invest and budget for their programmes. Resource allocation was identified as a gap in current HIV response making sustainable financing one of the focus areas of the new framework. Other gaps of particular concern to the private sector were a lack of strategic information and appropriate monitoring and evaluation tools. Participants recommended research in cost benefit analysis of programmes, the development of clear guidelines for mainstreaming HIV activities within organisations and further action in addressing HIV as a human rights issue.

SWHAP in Kenya is a member of the Private Sector Partners on HIV and AIDS (PSPA), a body which coordinates and reports on HIV and AIDS responses in the formal private sector. The organisation has achieved significant success in containing new infections within companies they work with and building strong networks.

Modifying risk factors at Tetra Pak Kenya

Screening Tetra PakOver 80% of cardiovascular deaths take place in low to middle income countries.  Due to the enormous economic and social cost of managing cardiovascular diseases, prevention remains the cornerstone of their control. Most cardiovascular disease can be prevented by addressing risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

This is a strategy that is starting to pay off for Tetra Pak in Kenya, where employees are becoming more aware of the importance of preventative health. At a wellness day held in May, Tetra Pak reported a decrease of 12% in the number of obese employees and a 13% drop in patients with borderline and high blood pressure compared to last year. These changes are being credited to the workplace wellness programme that is raising awareness on the importance and benefits of regular exercise and good nutrition.  Many employees have enrolled on the onsite company gym and are exercising on average three times a week.

The move to integrate wellness into the HIV and AIDS programme at Tetra Pak was motivated by the death of three employees a couple of years ago due to cardiovascular disease and Kaposi’s sarcoma. The employees had positively responded to antiretroviral therapy before they succumbed to these complications. The HIV and AIDS committee wanted to act to protect all employees from lifestyle diseases and cancers associated with HIV regardless of sero-status.