By Yvonne Kasine (UN Plus Advisory Group Member/UNICEF Rwanda)
UN Plus and UN Cares had a booth in the Global Village at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban from 18th to 22nd July 2016. Many people came to seek information on how UN is managing the HIV in the workplace. The booth had a lot of visitors and many of them expressed the interest to partner with UN Plus.
On 18th July 2016, UN Plus and UN Cares together with other partners organized a panel discussion at the Community Dialogue Space in the Global Village. The discussion was entitled Challenges and Successes in HIV Workplace Policies and Programmes: Experience from sub-Saharan Africa.
Each panel made a presentation on the best practices and challenges around HIV work policies and programmes.
UN Plus (Presented by Jane Sinyei for UNON/UN Plus Kenya)
UN Plus Kenya presented the “One Stop Clinic” at Aga Khan Hospital as the best practice of HIV in the workplace programme. The “One stop Clinic” provides care, treatment, psychosocial counselling and nutrition advice to UN staff living with HIV in Kenya. The “One Stop Clinic” also ensures full access to treatment among staff members by providing a 100% coverage of their treatment costs.
To reduce stigma and enhance confidentiality, staff are given an anonymous code when accessing the clinic. The staff dependents are also taken care by the “One Stop Clinic” and provided with treatment and psychosocial support.
HIV in the workplace training sessions for staff are conducted on a monthly basis to make sure that all staff are aware of the existing support services. At the same time, training sessions for youths/children are conducted twice a year. During these sessions, youths/children are given basic knowledge on various subjects in addition to HIV that affect them in the society such as drugs, alcohol, media, sexuality, etc. The sessions are divided into age groups: 10 to 12 years, 13 to 16 years and 17 onwards.
The Kenya UN Plus also conduct trainings for Peer Educators to enhance their capacity in supporting other colleagues living with HIV.
UN Cares (Presented by Dan Maina from UNFPA/UN Cares)
Based on the UN’s personnel policy on HIV/AIDS (1991), the success of UN Cares comes from the comprehensive response to HIV in the workplace by UN agencies. It also relies on the development and implementation of the 10 minimum standards on HIV, which guide the common programme in responding to various challenges in the UN workplace. Other successes include the condom distribution in all UN workplace, mandatory training sessions on HIV in the workplace for all staff in several UN organizations, confidentiality training to personnel dealing with personal information.
Swedish Workplace HIV/AIDS Programme – SWHAP (Presented by Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma/SWHAP)
The SWAHP’s intervention includes: supporting policy development, HIV testing, family programme, spouse programme and women empowerment programme. Thanks to SWHAP’s intervention, partnerships between workers and management have been strengthened, which resulted in increased job security among workers. SWHAP also addresses stigma and discrimination, implements training of peer educators and engages with private sector partners to strengthen their programmes.
One of the challenges mentioned was the high HIV prevalence among truck drivers. In order to address this issue, SWHAP has organized a community campaign to raise awareness on HIV among the drivers and their families.
SAfAIDS (Presented by Ngoni Chibukire/SAfAIDS)
One of the successes SAfAIDS had was a project based in Zimbabwe called “My HIV, My Status,” that focused on HIV testing. This project dealt with families and also promoted sexual and reproductive health as well as conducted capacity building training for community workers. The project also used social activities to attract many people and organized health events where people could check various health measures including their blood pressure and sugar level.