SWHAP Annual Conferences
SWHAP 2015 Annual Conference
The SWHAP 2015 Annual Conference was held in Harare, Zimbabwe between 12-13 November. The theme for the conference was “It’s Your Health: engagement through workplace wellness”.
SWHAP 2014 Annual Conference
October 2014 marked ten years of SWHAP. Since the programme was launched in South Africa it has grown annually, expanding to the ten countries the programme runs in today. In 2005 SWHAP reached 15 workplaces employing an estimated 6,625 people. This year over 290 workplaces and 27,000 employees benefitted from participation in the programme. Furthermore supply chain and mentorship programmes with companies and unions have meant that the programme is also reaching workers beyond the “Swedish-related” companies.
The 2014 annual conference was a celebration of this progress and the people behind the success of the programme. Over 170 delegates from 11 countries came together in Lusaka Zambia between 22 and 23 October, to explore the theme “Business efficiency and health: Creating Sustainable Wellness and HIV Programmes”. Conference participants looked at the relationship between business efficiency and health and the different ways in which stakeholders, including employers, employees and unions, could harness wellness and HIV programmes for greater business efficiency. Mainstreaming of programmes into the strategy, governance and operational frameworks of organisations, as well as documentation of programmes were some of the major topics under discussion. Lars G Malmer Chair of the SWHAP board noted that, workplace programmes should be made part of the “DNA” of companies in order to be truly effective and sustainable.
The conference was opened by the Honourable Dr Joseph Kasonde, Minister of Health, who congratulated the local companies for playing their role in complementing the efforts of the government to address issues of health and wellness. He added that the private sector had a crucial role to play through encouraging healthier lifestyles and promoting education, screening and treatment. These sentiments were echoed by, Her Excellency, Mrs Lena Nordström, the Ambassador of Sweden to Zambia, in her address at the Achievement Awards ceremony. She also recognised the workplace as an important arena for behaviour change communication.
The presentation by Alice Ouedrago, Chief HIV/AIDS and the World of Work Branch (ILOAIDS), noted the importance of integrating workplace responses into the post -2015 Development Agenda, if the targets of ending AIDS by 2030 are to be achieved. The presentation also highlighted the importance of addressing HIV within a wellness context and the provision of testing and treatment opportunities in the workplace.
Presentations from the workplaces highlighted programmes addressing a vast spectrum of employee and community health concerns and efforts by the companies to implement their programmes strategically. Ulrich Seats from South Africa shared on low cost, high impact activities that have allowed the company to address overweight and obesity at the workplace. Scania South Africa, recipient of the SWHAP Achievement Award for Most Comprehensive Programme, demonstrated how their programme is integrated into all aspects of the business with reporting on wellness activities at the highest level. Whilst community outreach programmes implemented by companies such as Revco Zimbabwe are helping to empower women with information on HIV, whilst also creating opportunities for generating income.
A panel discussion on the final day of the conference generated ideas on how SWHAP could help its partners improve the documentation of programmes, leverage partnerships with service providers, insurers and international organisations and develop tools to improve the sustainability of programmes.
2013 Annual Conference
SWHAP held its annual conference for 2013 from the 7th to 8th of November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The theme “Taking ownership of health and wellness: building on lessons from HIV and AIDS Programmes” promoted responsibility for health and wellness at both employer and employee level. Employees were encouraged to develop proactive health seeking behaviours while employers discussed the importance of identifying the burden of disease in their organisations and potential prevention and mitigation strategies. SWHAP Achievement Award nominees, show- cased wellness programmes addressing HIV, communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as lifestyle issues affecting employees and their families. These presentations also highlighted the effective partnerships with unions, service providers, international organisations such as the ILO and business coalitions that have contributed to successful programmes.
The conference was well attended with 201 participants from 12 countries.
Reports from previous annual and regional conferences can be found at the following links: