The SWHAP was launched in Zambia in 2005. Atlas Copco, Dyno Nobel, Sandvik and SKF are all located in the Copperbelt in Zambia and participate in the SWHAP network. The companies employ about 1,050 persons. All four companies have developed HIV and AIDS workplace policies’ and appointed HIV and Aids workplace committees. Since June 2005, three of the companies have submitted applications for co-financing that have been approved by the SWHAP steering committee. The fourth and last application is underway.
All companies have trained Peer Educators (a total of 114), but during the years, a need for staff with more in-depth knowledge was also identified. As a result, training in psycho-social counseling has been carried out with 17 persons going through a seven-week training in counseling. The companies have a holistic view on prevention and two of them have distributed treated bed nets to employees and their families, seeing the connection between Malaria and HIV.
The focus on joint activities, joint learning, sharing and exchange of information has been a key element in the cooperation between the SWHAP companies in Zambia. This has for example led to the training of spouses in one company, an initiative that has quickly been picked up by another of the SWHAP companies. Two companies have developed clubs for the spouses in which they train Peer Educators to work in their respective communities and VCT has been arranged for employees and their spouses (couple counseling and testing) as well as outreach activities that combined information about the programmes with offers of testing to the surrounding community. One of the companies has also provided support to the local government clinic with trained psychosocial counselors.
Links have been established with service providers in the local community and also with the public health system through the District Aids Task Force, who are responsible for the coordination of the national response at district level, under supervision of the National Aids Council (NAC).
SWHAP has through the outreach activities become well known in the community and the HIV and Aids workplace interventions of one of the SWHAP workplaces is often quoted as a success in the media.