Our Priorities: HIV/Aids
Over the past decade, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) and Botswana Breweries Limited (BBL) have consistently made calls to all stakeholders to tackle HIV/Aids prejudice and remove barriers to effective treatment. This year, KBL and BBL re-launched Project Tshelang, the first initiative of its kind in Botswana when originally launched in 2001. Tshelang means “Live” or “Stay alive” and provides a consistent set of guidelines for managing employees with HIV, Aids and other chronic diseases to ensure the fair and consistent treatment and support for all KBL and BBL employees.
The focus of Project Tshelang is to prevent new infections and manage the spread of HIV by providing employees and their families with education, awareness programmes and access to voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). Once diagnosed, HIV-positive employees have access to the companies’ managed healthcare system. This includes free anti-retroviral drugs for employees and their immediate dependants. Project Tshelang also provides medical assistance for chronic illnesses such as arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, gout, heart conditions, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, hepatitis A, B and C.
To launch the revised programme a “wellness day” was held in November 2010, which provided information to employees and their families on the Project Tshelang and its benefits.
Some employees at KBL and BBL who are HIV positive have championed communications to fellow employees, encouraging them to be tested and to learn more about HIV/Aids. One of them recently expressed that: “knowing my status has empowered me and given me control over my life because when you know your HIV status, you know what to do, how to behave, and also you are able to encourage others. When you are positive like me and you tell other people, you give them hope; and when they see you healthy as I am, they know this is a condition that can be managed successfully.” These champions and peer educators are playing a major role in preventing new infections.
Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the article's author has approved them.
We will not publish comments we deem to be advertising, spam, off-topic, or defamatory, abusive, libelling, threatening, obscene, hateful or which are not in English.