Alfa Laval celebrates 95 years in South Africa

Congratulations to Alfa Laval who this year are celebrating 95 years of operating in South Africa. Alfa Laval was one of the first companies to join the SWHAP partnership in 2004. Immediately the company set up a comprehensive workplace HIV and AIDS programme realising 100% HIV testing uptake. Alfa Laval employs 55 people and has branches in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.


From left: Magdeline Dlamini and Sean Peters, Alfa Laval Peer Educators; Anders Pentelius, MD Alfa Laval South Africa; J. Vilson, Executive Vice President Alfa Laval – Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa; Sara Aulin, Counsellor Economic and Commercial Affairs, Embassy of Sweden; Mary Kau, Coordinator SWHAP; Mae Claassen, HR Manager Alfa Laval South Africa; and A. Nascimento, Nasa Comercial Angola


International Women’s Day 2016

Celebrated on 8 March, International Women’s Day builds support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. The Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme (SWHAP) joins the international community in celebrating International Women’s Day under the 2016 theme “Pledge for Gender Parity.”

25.03.2015 Zimbabwe Freda Rebeka Gold mine Photo: Adam Lach / Napo Images

Why is gender parity important?

The rights to equality and non-discrimination are fundamental principles to human rights, yet gender inequalities still persist and women and girls face discrimination. On average women still earn less than men, are not proportionally represented in political positions, are more likely to suffer physical and sexual violence and thus more likely to acquire HIV.

Gender parity is not only a social and moral issue but also an economic one. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) acknowledge the importance of gender parity in achieving global progress and addressing poverty, with a specific goal (SDG 5) aiming to end discrimination and violence against women and ensure equal participation in all spheres.



Investing in the health, wellbeing and rights of women means everyone wins. It strengthens economies, increases productivity, improves health and creates sustainable nations ( A 2015 report by McKinsey Global Institute found that “$12 trillion dollars could be added to global gross domestic product by advancing women’s gender equality”. The same research showed that diversity in the workplace is important for successful business. Companies with more women on their boards showed 26% higher returns and 56% higher operating profits (

What is the relationship between gender parity, HIV and health?

Over 30 years into the HIV epidemic, it is well documented that unequal relationships between men and women and societal norms of femininity and masculinity are important influences on HIV prevention, treatment and management. Gender inequality and harmful gender norms are not only associated with the spread of HIV but also with its consequences. SWHAP recognises the importance of integrating gender in the HIV and AIDS response.

What are SWHAP partners doing to address gender in the workplace?

Several companies in the SWHAP partnership are participating in a pilot programme to mainstream gender and diversity management into HIV and AIDS workplace programmes. The mainstreaming of gender in workplace programmes allows for the needs of women and men in relation to HIV to be effectively addressed. Men are integral to the process as they play a vital role in the process of promoting, responsible sexual behaviour, and reproductive health rights and in the elimination of violence perpetuated against women.

Within the context of HIV addressing gender inequalities removes barriers to accessing HIV services, enabling women and men to access comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services. These investments result in healthier workers who are generally more productive and contributes to sustainable business.

What more can be done?

  1. Help women and girls achieve their ambitions
  2. Challenge conscious and unconscious bias
  3. Partner effectively with men to end gender inequalities at the workplace
  4. Call for gender-balanced leadership
  5. Value everyone’s contribution equally
  6. Create flexible inclusive cultures

Source:

Sodeico Manpower- Empowering SMEs to address HIV and AIDS

Sodeico Manpower is gearing up for its proposed mentorship of the Association of Female Entrepreneurs of the DRC (ASSOFE). On 29 November SWHAP facilitated an awareness session on HIV, women’s health and non-communicable diseases during the Association’s Wellness Day. 63 female heads of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) took part in the programme which included Voluntary Counselling and Testing as well as biometric tests.

SMEs are the growth engine of Africa making substantial contributions to gross domestic product. HIV and AIDS can be particularly devastating for SMEs affecting, skills, labour supply, disrupting production and increasing costs of doing business (International Labour Organization). In many cases SMEs are less likely to have the resources to proactively prevent or manage HIV and AIDS. The mentorship programme should help the members of the Association to set up workplace programmes that protect the rights of employees and address HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care needs.

Raising Awareness on Cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month, it helps to draw attention to and increase support for awareness, early detection and treatment. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and it also affects men. In 2012 nearly 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed (World Cancer Research Fund International).

The majority of breast cancer deaths occur in low-and-middle income countries where cancer is diagnosed late as a result of a combination of factors including lack of awareness on early detection and barriers to accessing health care services. Not enough information is known about the causes of cancer so early detection is one effective strategy for breast cancer control.

During October workplaces in the SWHAP network promoted early detection for breast cancer.  Working with national cancer associations workplaces raised awareness on how to recognise the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer and how to conduct breast self-exams. These are effective strategies in settings where access to screening and treatment interventions is limited (World Health Organization).

As part of the November awareness calendar, many companies tackled issues dealing with men’s health. Companies like Atlas Copco Namibia encouraged male employees to take part in national cancer association events such as “Movember” which encourage men to develop more proactive health seeking behaviours as part of strategies to address prostate and testicular cancers.

SWHAP follows a wellness approach as it has been proven to encourage more people to agree to testing and to engage in prevention activities compared with a focused HIV approach. Additionally, it also addresses related diseases and lifestyle issues which can either contribute to the spread of HIV or affect those living with HIV disproportionately. Studies by Lancet predict that by 2030 the cancer burden in sub-Saharan Africa will increase by 85%. Raising awareness on cancer is also important for HIV programmes as HIV increases the risk of developing cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cervical cancer.


SAAB Grintek South Africa Cancer Awareness Day. After two training sessions which also included presentations on prostate cancer, onsite screening for breast and cervical cancer was made available for employees.


Scania Botswana opened their lunchtime session to employees and clients. Participants were taken through the Touch Look Check (TLC) technique for breast self-exam


Pink Friday at Atlas Copco Botswana.

Baypost Zambia Cancer

Bayport Zambia employee raised funds for a local cancer hospital. Management pledged to double the amount raised by employees.

80 employees from Scania Kenya attended awareness sessions on cancer during their lunch break,

80 employees from Scania Kenya attended awareness sessions on cancer during their lunch break,

Welcome new SWHAP partners

A warm welcome to Lincoln Lubrications from South Africa and Jamii Bora Bank from Kenya, who are the latest addition to the SWHAP network.  Management and worker sensitisation was held on Friday 16 October at Jamii Bora where participants were taken through the effects of HIV and non-communicable diseases on the workplace and the benefits of investing in workplace HIV and wellness programmes. Workplace programme activities at Lincoln Lubrications will kick off in early 2016.

Wangari Muchoki, Chief Manager, Human Capital and Daniel Mwaura, SWHAP East Africa Regional Coordinator

Wangari Muchoki, Chief Manager, Human Capital and Daniel Mwaura, SWHAP East Africa Regional Coordinator

Tanzania CEO Advocacy Forum

On 23 November SWHAP in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) and the Tanzania AIDS Commission (TACAIDS) hosted a CEO breakfast forum for private sector actors as part of the build-up to World AIDS Day. The meeting which took place in Dar es Salaam brought together over 40 participants representing development partners, the United Nations, CEO’s and Human Resource Directors to share best practice on HIV workplace programmes in Tanzania, including the return on investment of such programmes. SWHAP shared lessons on how the benefits of investment into employee health outweigh costs.

During the meeting TACAIDS called upon the private sector to support and contribute to the AIDS Trust Fund, an initiative by the government of Tanzania to enhance the sustainability of HIV and AIDS responses in the country. Additionally the important role of the sector in supporting the implementation of the Third National Multi-Sectoral Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS (NMSF III), in particular reaching workers and their families through workplace based responses and the piloting of the new World Health Organization guidelines on testing and treating in workplace settings, was emphasized.

Tanzania CEO Advocacy Forum

From left Gertrude Sima ILO, Dr Fatma Mrisho TACAIDS, Dr Aggrey Mlimuka ATE, Mr Godfrey Simbeye Tanzania Private Sector Foundation and Mr Daniel Mwaura SWHAP.

Enhancing Programmes for Long Distance Truck Drivers

HIV remains a major challenge to Kenya’s socio-economic development. While significant progress has been made in addressing the epidemic amongst the general population prevalence is still very high in key populations who include sex workers, truck drivers, men who have sex with men and people who use drugs. HIV prevalence amongst truck drivers in East Africa is higher than the national average. Due to the nature of their work, long distance trucker 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. The transient nature of their work also makes it difficult for them to access healthcare services and appropriate information which can make them more vulnerable to exposure to HIV or other opportunistic infections.

VCT at MalabaIn response to this challenge the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers Union through the Highway Community Health Resource Centre (HCHRC, the health arm of the union) established sites strategically located along the Northern highway corridor and weigh bridges as well as neighbouring workplaces, to offer HIV, AIDS and STI services to truck drivers and other key populations along the highway corridor. During September and October SWHAP partnered with the Union and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to enhance the HIV and AIDS Workplace Programmes for truck drivers through: raising HIV awareness to the Truck Drivers, offering HIV testing and counselling services with linkage to treatment, care and support and providing sensitisation on the importance of enrolling on the Union’s social protection schemes. Over a three week period 6 345 people received education on HIV and AIDS, over 5 065 learnt their HIV status and 59 600 condoms were distributed.


Female condom demonstration

Peer Educator Activities

Kenya Peer Educator Open Challenge

On 31 October Peer Educators from Kenya had the opportunity to share experiences with their counterparts from other companies running workplace HIV and wellness programmes through the Kenya Peer Educator Open Challenge.  The national Peer Educator exchange programme was organised by the National Organisation of Peer Educators and was also a team building exercise strengthening relationships between company teams. Six companies from the SWHAP network participated in the activities winning a trophy during one of the challenges.

PE Challenge

Frashia W. Ng’ang’a and Kennedy Muhatia from Scania Kenya

Fund Raising Car Wash

Peer Educators from Atlas Copco Tanzania came up with a fun way of raising money for a children’s home regularly supported by the company. The Peer Educators raised over US$700 through a fund raising car wash and safety shoe polishing exercise. The money as well as clothes food items collected by the Peer Educators during the course of the year was presented to the orphanage on 5 October.

Car wash 1


The 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) was held in Harare Zimbabwe between 29 November and 4 December. The theme of the conference “AIDS in the post 2015 era: Linking Leadership, Science & Human Rights” looked at the sustainability of the AIDS response and engaging all stakeholders in committing to ending AIDS by 2030.

SWHAP was at the Conference sharing success stories from the companies in its network. On 29 November during a session on expanding the HIV response for women and girls SWHAP shared examples on gender mainstreaming from the workplaces. SWHAP also presented a poster on “Public-Private Partnership: Catalytic approach to sustainable HIV and AIDS workplace programmes”. The poster explored the SWHAP approach and research showing that companies investing in comprehensive wellness management and sexually transmitted infections (STI) programmes as well 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. The poster cited examples of documented benefits from the companies including a company from the DRC who reported a reduction in medical treatment costs of approximately $100 000 after only two years of participation in the programme. View the poster here.


Jacob Graaff and Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma from SWHAP explaining the investment impact to an ICASA delegate

Peer Educators from SWHAP partner companies in Zimbabwe were at the ICASA Community Village where they conducted an interactive skills building workshop on HIV prevention, treatment advocacy, Prevention of Parent- to- Child Transmission and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision using the Bridges of Hope Methodology. Peer Educators also promoted VCT and biometric testing uptake at the International Labour Organization stand.


VCT@Work advocacy. Centre Telmore from Ericsson Communications talking to ICASA delegates at the ILO Stand


Interactive Peer Educator training methods

Great discussions emerged during an abstract driven session chaired by SWHAP on “Influencing target HIV prevention among vulnerable populations”. The key messages from the session were:

  • To achieve the 90-90-90 targets interventions must not leave anyone behind. Strategies (biomedical and behaviour change) must include prisoners, sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who use drugs (PWUD).
  • Stigma and discrimination must be addressed.
  • Engagement of communities on risk perceptions must be an ongoing exercise along with the promotion of consistent and correct condom use particularly in high prevalence settings.