Employee health and wellness is a crucial part of the fight against HIV and TB, as well as numerous non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
The private sector has been a key player in implementing HIV and AIDS programmes since the early years of the AIDS epidemic. eThekwini is part of the Fast-Track Cities initiative supported by UNAIDS to engage urban leaders in developing multilateral partnerships to meet the 90-90-90 targets. This means that if 90% of people with HIV and TB know their status, get treated and stay on treatment, this will help prevent the spread of the disease and keep people healthy.
Sindy Naidoo, human resources manager at Reutech says employee wellness is important, not just to reduce absenteeism but also to remove the stigma around certain diseases.
"We encourage people to know their numbers – whether that is blood pressure, cholesterol or HIV and TB status. We need to create knowledge and understanding so we can take away the fear and stigma about these conditions." Naidoo adds that while Reutech has about 400 staff on site, it was also important to include contractors such as cleaning and security staff in this programme.
"We also know that it can be difficult for workers to get to the clinics for testing and treatment because the clinics are closed by the time they leave work. Having a day like this at least once a year is helpful as it allows staff to test for a range of conditions and get proper treatment."
Apart from employee welfare there is a clear business case for such an approach. Having staff tested and stable on treatment reduces absenteeism and makes it easier for the employer to plan and deliver on production.
HST offers this service completely free of charge to employers in the manufacturing sector in eThekwini.
For more information please contact Roger Tevan
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