Our Priorities: HIV/Aids
'Couples testing in homes'
We increasingly adopt an approach to reducing HIV/Aids that has a wider focus than just our employees. As a result of testing couples in their own homes, for example, Nile Breweries in Uganda has provided VCT for almost a quarter of employee's spouses over the last two years.
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. In addition, research has shown high incidences of HIV among couples; married people account for about 65% of new infections
On average in each of the last two years, 22% of spouses of Nile Breweries' employees 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 Katakwi region, Nile Breweries has partnered with the USAID-funded HIPS (Health Initiatives for the Private Sector) Project to extend home-based counselling and testing for HIV, as well as other health related information such as malaria, to small scale sorghum farmers and their families. This programme involves a team of medical staff moving from one household to another to conduct counselling and testing.
To aid the programme, sixteen farmers in the local community have been trained as peer educators and mobilisers. The peer educators play a crucial role through mapping households, mobilising the community for counselling and testing and coordinating the programme. The peer educators also visit local families and couples to inform them about the programme and register those who are interested.
The programme started in March 2010, covering seven villages with a population of 5,000 people. In total 4,500 household members were registered to participate in the program. During the year, 4,406 people were tested, representing 88% of the target population.
The programme was also commended by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids as an example of best practice in its 2009 Supply Chain Engagement Awards.
We also support existing community facilities, such as hospitals and clinics that treat HIV/Aids. Over the last year our bottled water company in Uganda has donated 437 hectolitres of Rwenzori bottled water to the Mildmay centre that offers care to more than 21,000 men, women and children living with HIV/Aids.
Read more on Nile Breweries’ holistic approach to tackling HIV/Aids.
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