Botswana Road Safety and Health Campaign
Over the Africa Day holiday (25 May), steering committees from Epiroc, Scania, and Auto Sueco Botswana organised and held a joint road safety and health public awareness campaign under the theme “Fatigue Management and Road Safety 2018”.
The campaign targeted long-distance truck and bus drivers (including passengers), motorists and informal sector workers operating along the Palapye Highway. The objective of the campaign was two-fold; sensitising drivers on the dangers of driving while tired and creating demand for HIV counselling and testing (HCT) and wellness services for those involved in the transport sector.
Other stakeholders participating included the Department of Road Transport and Safety, the Botswana Police, the Ministry of Health, Blood Transfusion Services, BOSSANET, Vivo Energy, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and Tepelopele Testing Services.
Botswana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world with an estimated adult prevalence rate of 21.9% (UNAIDS). Transport workers, in particular, long-distance truck and bus drivers, are particularly vulnerable to infection due to social issues related to being away from home for long periods of time. This absence from families often leads to high-risk sexual behaviour, transactional sex and multiple sexual partners along major towns and stopover points – making it important to also offer HCT services to communities along major highways.
Additionally, drivers are faced with many other health issues including high cholesterol, blood pressure, stress, exhaustion, and communicable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. A combination of long hours and mobility mean that many do not have the time or opportunity to access health services and when problems and symptoms arise they are often ignored. This increases the risk of accidents on the roads, due to ill health and fatigue while driving.
Kenya – Gold Grown Community Outreach
In Kenya, Gold Crown, a company under the Shreeji mentorship programme, held an outreach at a prison for women in Mombassa on 16 June. The objective of the outreach was to raise awareness on HIV transmission and prevention and to donate food and toiletries.
According to UNAIDS, “People who are already more likely to be exposed to HIV, including people who use drugs, sex workers, and gay men and other men who have sex with men, are overrepresented in prisons and other closed settings. Overcrowding increases vulnerability to infections such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis.” Moreover, the National AIDS Control Council of Kenya has identified prisoners (along with men who have sex with men, sex workers and their clients, and drug users who use injections) as contributing to a third of all new infections in the country. This makes outreach programmes around this group key to efforts to reduce HIV infection within Kenya.