Our alloys and coal operations in South Africa play an active role in addressing HIV/AIDS in their operating regions. Our projects and health programmes try to ensure that the impact of this disease is minimised for the individuals and communities affected. We work with local authorities and Re-Action!, an NGO specialising in mitigating HIV/AIDS to address the need for immediate, local access to health services, as well as developing, rolling out and developing workplace programmes.
Our HIV/AIDS programmes have aspirational 100% targets: 100% of our employees and contractors must know their HIV status; and 100% of those who are HIV-positive must be enrolled in treatment.
We have a broad range of programmes designed to help us achieving these 100% targets:
- Community initiatives such as improving access to healthcare, working with traditional healers and conducting a door-to-door outreach programme, which encourage HIV-positive employees and contractors and their dependents to take up and remain in appropriate treatment programmes
- Voluntary HIV testing and counselling: all employees and contractors receive time off from their shift to participate in annual health assessments, provided by an independent organisation
- Access to free healthcare and treatment through easily available channels for all HIV-positive employees and contractors and their dependents
- Wellbeing advocates are individuals who are HIV-positive who have decided to make their status known to their colleagues to help de‑stigmatise the disease and encourage more people to be treated and tested
Our coal operations work with local authorities and Re-Action!, an NGO for health and sustainability, specialising in mitigating HIV/AIDS. This collaboration addresses the need for immediate, local access to health services, as well as developing, rolling out and developing workplace programmes. Re-Action! developed the I know the way to live!™ initiative, which we have implemented.
We have created a ground-breaking public-private partnership between our alloys operations and the Mpumalanga provincial government, allowing us to act on needs identified by local government. This includes refurbishment of several public health clinics for anti-retroviral treatment, voluntary testing and counselling services.
In Zambia, our Mopani copper operation worked with AIDSRelief project to create a strong programme. HIV/AIDS sufferers are still stigmatised, which discourages them from getting tested or registering for treatment. Making all records and data strictly confidential has helped encourage participation. Within months of introducing workplace programmes, we realised that we had to extend them into the local community to fight the disease effectively. Our programmes offer counselling, testing and treatment for community members. The local community has seen an increase in outreach activities in the Mopani catchment area and beyond. Through increased community awareness and behaviour change, positivity rates have fallen. The programmes have won additional funds from agencies such as the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
These initiatives are complemented by education and awareness programmes. They are undertaken in close partnership with unions and employees’ families and partners. Training and education programmes cover a broad range of health issues in addition to HIV/AIDS.
The wellbeing programme created by our alloys operations, which has been implemented in all 16 of our alloys assets in South Africa, has achieved high participation rates in voluntary HIV testing, with more than 92% of our workforce having been tested. Of our employees who tested positive, 67% are registered into treatment.
Our coal division’s wellbeing programme has been in operation at the majority of its sites for ten years. We are currently implementing the programme at the three remaining sites, part of Shanduka Coal and Koornfontein. In 2014, the wellbeing programme continued its education initiatives and ensured those who have tested positive receive appropriate care and treatment.