Sandvik Zambia at the Agricultural Show

Congratulations to Sandvik Zambia who were awarded the second place prize in the Sustainable Business category at the Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show in Kitwe. This was due in part to their HIV and Wellness Programme. As with last year Sandvik offered VCT and health screening for blood pressure, malaria and blood sugar at their exhibition stand. More than 1800 tests were conducted over the five days. 12 people tested positive for malaria whilst 26.9% of people who participated in VCT tested positive. All those needing treatment were referred to healthcare centres.

 

Dorothy - Zaminex

Sandvik Wellness Coordinator Dorothy Mutwale, conducting blood pressure checks.

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World Hepatitis Day 2014

Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by one of the five hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E. All the viruses can cause short term or acute infection with B, C, and D viruses potentially causing long-term infection (chronic hepatitis)  which can lead to life-threatening complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water while Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of contact with infected body fluids.

Because of shared modes of transmission (sharing of needles amongst injecting drug users, unprotected sexual contact) a high proportion of adults at risk for HIV infection are also at risk for Hepatitis B infection. Moreover HIV positive individuals who become infected with the Hepatitis B virus are at increased risk for developing chronic hepatitis, complicating treatment. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that as many as 4-5 million people may be infected with both HIV and Hepatitis B. The figures are also similar for Hepatitis C. Additionally many people are unaware that they are infected as symptoms may only appear much later after serious damage to the liver has already occurred.

Symptoms of hepatitis include fatigue, loss of appetite, fever and jaundice. Hepatitis infection can be prevented by providing safe food and water, vaccination, screening of blood donations, provision of sterile injecting equipment (WHO) and the use of condoms preventing transmission of sexually transmitted diseases including hepatitis and HIV.

This World Hepatitis Day, the World Health Organisation is highlighting the need to invest in appropriate prevention strategies, testing and accessible treatment particularly in low to middle income countries. SWHAP joins the world in commemorating World Hepatitis Day, raising awareness on the virus that kills 1.5 million people a year, encouraging people to “Think Again” about hepatitis.

To read more on hepatitis please follow the link 

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New SWHAP Film

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:

World Malaria Day

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.

Community bed net distribution- Sandvik Zambia

Community bed net distribution- Sandvik Zambia

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

Related links

Case Study: Malaria – Bed Net Distribution

Back Story – SWHAP Film

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.

The employees

Testing SWHAP film ZambiaWorkplace 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.

The employers

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.

The unions

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

Panorama Security SWHAP filmOnce 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 spouses

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.

Atlas Copco spouses Zambia SWHAP Film

Atlas Copco Spouses Community Outreach

 

 

 

 

 

The film making collaboration process

SWHAP Film-Sandvik TanzaniaStark 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.”

Ironman Challenge

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.

Ian Bagshaw at the Ironman Triathlon in Perth Australia

Ian Bagshaw at the Ironman Triathlon in Perth Australia

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.

Revco Community Outreach

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.

Kedious Mphiningo from Revco talking to participants in Zvishavane

Kedious Mphiningo from Revco talking to participants in Zvishavane