SABMiller extends HIV testing for couples in Uganda
1 July 2010
The Ugandan subsidiary of SABMiller, one of the world's leading brewers, is extending its HIV programmes to offer counselling and testing to couples in their homes. The programme will focus on Nile Breweries' 430 employees and the 3,500 smallholder farmers who supply the brewery with sorghum.
The stigma and fear associated with HIV/Aids can often make discussions with spouses and dependants extremely difficult, but disclosure is critical to ensure family members receive testing and, if necessary, treatment. Whilst the number of Nile Breweries employees on managed healthcare programmes for HIV/Aids increased by 32% in 2009, the number of spouses and dependants only rose by 11%. In the last two years, only 22% of employees' spouses have undergone testing and counselling, compared to 94% of employees. Testing couples together can help to address this discrepancy, particularly when the service is offered to people in the familiar surroundings of their own homes.
In the farming community, Nile Breweries has so far trained 320 peer educators, a number of whom have received additional training to act as ‘motivators' for couples; encouraging them to take advantage of the service, providing counselling and coordinating with the healthcare professionals.
Mark Bowman, Managing Director of SABMiller Africa, said: "Our aim is to contribute to the reduction of HIV/Aids within our sphere of influence. Offering counselling and testing to couples in their homes ensures confidentiality, respect and dignity. The projects at Nile Breweries are an excellent example of how it is possible to apply a value chain approach, working with suppliers and customers to not only raise awareness and prevention but also to offer the counselling and drugs that can help those who test positive to continue to live active and productive lives."
In addition to its own employees, Nile Breweries already works with small and medium-sized enterprises, farmers, truck drivers and even the bartenders who sell its products. The programme includes awareness and prevention education, counselling and testing and the provision of anti-retroviral therapy as needed.
Across SABMiller's African operations, 72% of employees in countries with an HIV prevalence of greater than 5% have participated in voluntary counselling and testing. If an employee is diagnosed as HIV-positive, then he or she is given free access to the company's managed healthcare system, including anti-retroviral drugs. In 2009, the number of employees on managed healthcare programmes increased by 32% to 1,519 employees.
SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch, as well as leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie. SABMiller is also one of the world's largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.
In the year ended 31 March 2010, the group reported US$3,803 million adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$26,350 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.
Ten Priorities. One Future. Through our Ten Priorities for sustainable development, SABMiller will make a difference both locally and globally to enhance the One Future that we all share. A robust approach to sustainable development underpins our ability to grow and our licence to operate. Furthermore, a well-managed, growing business is good for wider economic development, leading to greater employment and investment in local economies and communities.
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