Jun

Scania South Africa recognised for HIV prevention work

2015-06-12 09:43
Simo Gama, peer educator at Scania South Africa, shares his knowledge on health related issues with Göran Häss, head medical physician, and Lena Abrahamsson at the Scania Health Centre in Södertälje. Gama was one of the representatives from Scania South Africa who were invited to Stockholm in Sweden to accept the Swedish Workplace HIV/AIDS Programme’s (SWHAP) Most Comprehensive Programme Achievement Award 2014 on behalf of Scania South Africa.

Scania South Africa’s work to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS has won the Swedish Workplace HIV/AIDS Programme’s (SWHAP) Most Comprehensive Programme Achievement Award 2014. The award was presented to Scania South Africa primarily for its employee support programme.

John Viner, programme manager at SWHAP, explains that the employee support programme assists in early diagnosis, access to treatment and continuous support for employees and their families. “Currently over 90% of Scania’s employees are aware of their HIV status and 44 out of 55 HIV positive employees are on treatment,” he says.

SWHAP is an initiative from the International Council of Swedish Industry (NIR) and the Swedish Industrial and Metalworkers’ Union (IF Metall) to support HIV and AIDS programmes at Swedish related workplaces in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As well as employees and short term contract workers, Scania South Africa also supports other vulnerable groups – such as truck drivers – in this work. During a recent six month period for example, 1 000 drivers were screened and tested for HIV.

“The amount of activities as well as the number of people included in the programme impressed us and this successful and systematic work to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS in the region resulted in the SWHAP Achievement Award.” Viner says.

In recognition of their achievement in HIV/AIDS prevention, representatives from Scania South Africa – including peer educator Simo Gama – were invited to Stockholm, Sweden to meet with SWHAP, Scania, NIR and IF Metall.

The Peer Educator programme is a Scania initiative whereby a number of employees are appointed as health promoters. They receive training and then coach their colleagues and act as role models when it comes to living healthy lifestyles. As well as being a peer educator, Simo Gama is the Scania Production System (SPS) coordinator at Scania South Africa’s regional production centre.

During his stay in Sweden, Gama visited Scania in Södertälje where he took part in a health seminar. He also visited Scania’s chassis production where he met with local Swedish SPS coordinators and was introduced to Scania Health Centre’s way of working.

“Scania is a premium brand, so anything but premium employees would be wrong,” Gama says. “In order to perform at work you need to live a balanced life and eat and sleep well. If you have any health issues, they need to be addressed. I encourage my colleagues to go to health screenings and to take command over their own life. I have noticed remarkable improvements since Scania implemented its health programme.”

Speaking about his visit to Scania in Södertälje, Gama says it was fascinating to see the similarities. “Everything is on a larger scale at the head-office but we use the same processes and methods and I recognise Scania’s production system from the production in South Africa. A lot of best practises have been shared and we will stay in contact after this. I am very interested in the ergonomic methods and achievements and would like to learn more about that area.”

Andreas Follér, sustainability manager at Scania, says: “Health and safety has always been important to Scania. The foundation to our success has been having motivated, engaged and highly skilled employees. The achievements of Scania in South Africa are a real inspiration to the rest of Scania.”

From all of us at FleetWatch, it’s a huge congratulations to Scania South Africa on winning this award. Great stuff!

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