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African Bank 2008 HIV/Aids Report


Aids Ribbon African Bank and You Overcoming HIV/Aids Together

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A Message from the CEO (Page 3)

Dear Colleagues, HIV/Aids is one of the greatest challenges facing South Africa today, and it knows no boundaries. It strikes rich and poor, the young and not-so-young, black and white, men and women; and it is causing great hardship in our communities. At African Bank we have recognised the huge impact the virus is having on our society and, as we believe our first responsibility is always to our staff and their families, we began rolling out an internal awareness, testing, counselling and treatment programme last year. Together with our partner in this effort, CareWorks, we are now taking the new African Bank HIV Awareness to Counselling and Treatment (ACT) programme to our branches and operating units across the country. This process has been met with great enthusiasm, and I would like to thank every African Bank employee for your positive response. I would also like to extend my thanks to the people throughout the organisation who are championing the HIV/Aids cause. This report will tell you more about who they are and what they have been doing. HIV/Aids is everyones responsibility; so learn about HIV, take the message of prevention into your communities, and participate in the voluntary and anonymous testing, counselling and treatment programme. It is there for you. (Allows for a photograph)

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The African Bank HIV/Aids Programme: An Overview (Pages 4 and 5 DPS)

In October last year, African Bank piloted its new Awareness to Counselling and Treatment (ACT) programme over three Saturdays at the Rustenburg Branch. The main focus of the programme is on HIV/Aids awareness, testing, counselling and treatment, but it also deals with other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and TB (tuberculosis). ACT in an initiative of the Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP), and is facilitated by Youlanda van Booma in conjunction with CareWorks, a managed healthcare provider specialising in HIV/Aids. The structure of the programme is based on the CareWorks ACT process, and involves the following stages:

Awareness-to-Action Education: This consists of an initial session of approximately two hours in

length, at which all participants are educated about HIV/Aids. This aspect of the process is mandatory, and it is compulsory for all African Bank employees to attend this workshop. Counselling: The initial session is followed by one-on-one counselling sessions, which enable participants to ask sensitive questions they may not have wanted to raise in a group context, and to prepare them should they wish to undergo voluntary testing. These follow-up sessions are also a compulsory part of the process. Post-test counselling is then offered on a voluntary basis for participants who feel they would like to discuss their test results or enrol in the CareWorks Patient Management Programme, if necessary. Testing: All African Bank employees have the opportunity to find out what their HIV status is, at no cost to themselves. Testing is confidential and a bar code system is used to ensure anonymity. Results can be obtained either immediately after testing or, should participants prefer, by telephone using their unique bar codes. Participation in this aspect of the process is voluntary.
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STI and TB Management: Participants who screen positive for an STI and/or TB, are then referred
to their local clinic for treatment and on-going monitoring HIV Management: Participants who screen positive for HIV have a number of post-test counselling and treatment options, and these are fully detailed on pages 19 and 20. Confidentiality and non-discrimination Confidentiality and non-discrimination are the foundation of all African Bank HIV/Aids interventions. These principles are enshrined in a range of legislation in South African labour law, including the Employment Equity Act and the Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/Aids and Employment. This legislation has the clear intention of protecting of those infected and affected by HIV/Aids, and is also the cornerstone of the CareWorks ACT process. HIV/Aids affects everyone. Become an HIV/Aids champion, and share what you learn during the ACT process with your friends, family and community. (Allows for photographs and/or logos)

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The African Bank / CareWorks Partnership (Pages 6 & 7 DPS)

At African Bank, we believe our employees deserve the best. That is why, when we decided to launch a confidential HIV/Aids awareness, testing, counselling and treatment programme, we chose CareWorks as our partner. CareWorks is a South African managed healthcare company that specialises in all aspects of HIV/Aids management, and a team for professionals from the company helped us to customise its Awareness to Counselling and Treatment (ACT) programme to meet the specific needs of our staff and their families. This was done with the support and participation of management, and the programme has been wholeheartedly embraced by staff since its launch into the organisation last year. CareWorks is dedicated to managing HIV/Aids in the work environment, as well as to managing the healthcare of HIV positive people on behalf of employers and medical aid schemes. The companys mission is to combat the spread of HIV/Aids by ensuring that those employees who test negative for the virus remain negative, and by working to keep those who test positive healthy, involved and productive. Tackling HIV/Aids head-on The African Bank ACT programme is designed to tackle HIV/Aids head-on, and to give its staff all the tools they need to prevent infection or to manage their positive status. Awareness workshops and individual counselling sessions are a mandatory part of the process, after which employees may choose to take part in the anonymous, voluntary and confidential testing programme, and to avail themselves of follow-up counselling and/or treatment, should this be necessary.

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Long-term HIV/Aids management Employees who test HIV positive and are not covered by a medical aid qualify for the bank-sponsored CareWorks HIV Treatment Programme, while all employees can request counselling, advice and support through the Employee Wellbeing Programmes CareWorks Helpline. Employees who wish to register for the treatment programme should do so as soon as they test HIV positive. There is no cost involved, and your details will be kept absolutely confidential. All doctors visits, follow-up blood tests and medication are covered, and CareWorks will help you to obtain the correct medication on a regular basis. CareWorks will also help you to access emergency preventative ARV treatment in the case of accidental exposure through an accident or assault, as well as in the case of rape. Caring together African Bank, in association with CareWorks, is working together with its staff to halt the spread of HIV, and to ensure that HIV positive people receive the appropriate counselling and treatment. Be part of the solution be part of creating an Aids-free society. [Allows for cartoons from the CareWorks brochure]

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ACT Campaign: Rustenburg Pilot and Roll-Out (Pages 10 and 11 DPS)

The African Bank ACT programme began with a three-day pilot at the Rustenburg branch in October last year. Youlanda van Booma of the Employee Wellbeing Programme, together with CareWorks, introduced the new programme to branch staff, starting with the compulsory Awareness-to-Action Workshops. Each staff member then had a private counselling session with a CareWorks professional, which gave them the opportunity to discuss any sensitive questions they might have had, as well as to receive pre-test counselling if they wished to take part in the free, confidential and voluntary testing programme. They were also advised of the systems in place to support African Bank staff who test HIV positive, and to help those who test negative to maintain their status. The objective of the pilot was to test the ACT methodology, to ensure that every staff member participating would be fully informed about HIV/Aids, and to convey the message that life after a positive diagnosis is not a death sentence. Being HIV positive is merely a chronic illness that can be managed with the proper treatment and appropriate lifestyle changes. Roll-Out The ACT pilot was followed by a roll-out to Kwa-Zulu Natal in March, April and May this year, Gauteng in July and Limpopo in August. In KZN, 22 workshops, in which 545 employees took part, were facilitated over the three-month period, and 323 employees participated in the voluntary testing programme. Special thanks is due to Operations Executive, Morag Crease; General Manager, Chris van Rensburg; PA and Coordinator, Tanya Fourie; and Regional Managers Ameen Mohammed, Riaan de la Rey and RoseMarie Hojby for their hard work and support during the process.
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In Gauteng, the programme was taken to the Westonaria and Carltonville branches, where it was accompanied by drumming sessions to promote team building. Here special thanks is due to Regional Manager, Laurence Wilson, and to Andre van Tonder and Andre du Toit, who brought their own unique touch to the programme. In Limpopo, four workshops were held, with 100% of the participants volunteering for testing. Thanks again to Operation Manager, Morag Crease for her committed involvement, as well as to Regional General Manager, Alan Friend, and to Wanda Theron and Nikita Markusoff. You all did African Bank proud. Coming soon ACT rolls into Pretoria next, after which the programme will be taken to Mpumalanga and the other provinces. Remember to watch out for it! (Allows for photograph/s)

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Launch of the Midrand VCT Clinic (Page 12)

ACT is being supported by the establishment of a number of VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing) clinics at African Bank, the first of which was launched in Midrand in June. This involved another first for the bank, an interactive discussion session with an HIV positive person, who could speak about living with the virus from personal experience. In an informal setting in the canteen area, both management and staff had the opportunity of posing questions to Brett Anderson, a leadership consultant and neuro-linguistic practitioner who has been living with HIV for seven years. Brett is an internationally-renowned HIV/Aids activist and consultant, who is also an active member of the United Nations Development Programmes GIPA (Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/Aids) initiative. Opening with a dynamic presentation, Brett first shared his personal story, offering a new way of looking at the HIV/Aids pandemic, and fostering hope about the possibility of living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life after a positive diagnosis. Then with the able assistance of a Fedics chef, he demonstrated the kind of healthy breakfasts, lunches and suppers that HIV positive people should eat to support their immune systems, as well as whipping up some delicious smoothies. The clinic will be run by VCT nurse, Remember, Nduzujula, who says it is important to know your status, so that you can receive treatment early. Its voluntary and its free, she says. Come and test. (Allows for photograph/s)

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Kidibone: African Bank Aids Champion (Page 13)

Kidibone is HIV positive. She has been living with the virus for two years, and is the African Bank Employee Wellbeing Programmes first HIV/Aids champion. At first, I couldnt believe that I had tested HIV positive, she says. I went for three tests just to be sure and, by the last one, my CD4 count was down to 195. It was then I decided to tell my mother, who was very scared, and thought I was dying. But I called the whole family together and told them; they were wonderful. All of them are very supportive they are my moral support. Kidibone is 34 years old and lives in Ivory Park with her 8-year-old daughter. Many of you will recognise her as the friendly lady at the Midrand Support Centres Red Ribbon Car Wash. Although she is not a permanent employee, the money she earns from washing cars is her only income, and she uses it to support herself and her three children. She decided to talk openly about her status and about living with HIV for her own sake as well as for others. I was quiet before, but now I am free, she says. I do not know how I got the virus, but I never used a condom and I should have. Now Kidibone assists by sharing her knowledge of HIV/Aids with others, and by giving them emotional support. She also initiated and now manages a condom distribution scheme, which is sponsored by the bank. This virus is real! she says. It is serious! Respect your body and always use a condom. If you know you are positive, accept your status and do not live in denial. The diagnosis is not a death sentence stop stressing and love yourself. (Allows for a photograph)

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Volunteering in Kenya (Pages 14 and 15)

Last year, as part of its internal HIV/Aids initiative and Corporate Social Investment Programme, African Bank invited employees to contribute their knowledge and skills to the newly-formed African Bank Employee Volunteer Programme. An initiative of the Corporate Affairs and Communications Department, the Volunteer Programme is aimed at giving employees the chance to make a difference where it is needed most. As an Employee Wellbeing Practitioner and HIV Counsellor, Youlanda van Booma felt it was important to experience how HIV/Aids was affecting people in other African countries, and to bring that learning back to South Africa. Making use of her incentive bonus and her annual leave, she enrolled in the Global Volunteer Network (GVN) and set off for two weeks of HIV/Aids volunteer work in Kenya in February. There she was hosted by Alice Muthoni, a single woman who lives on her own and works as a nutritionist at a hospital in Nairobi. The bonus for Youlanda was that the accommodation Alice could offer had running water, electricity and a flush toilet, something not always available for GVN volunteers. Volunteers all live with host families, says Youlanda, and are offered a place to sleep, one meal a day and washing facilities. Youlandas assignment was to work at the Dagaretti clinic in the Kibara slums, which meant first taking a bus and then walking for 25 minutes to get there. At the clinic, one male nurse, a social worker and an HIV counsellor are responsible for HIV/Aids management for the entire community, including the distribution of one nutritious meal a week. If patients are too sick to come into the clinic for this, it is taken to their homes by four volunteer community workers. Walking the community with them, I did four home-based visits in addition to my work at the clinic, on one occasion visiting a mother of two who had full-blown Aids, and had been bedridden for four months. Her daughter had had to stop going to school so that she could stay home and care for her mother. It was a harrowing experience for Youlanda.
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This was a deeply personal journey - I lost my identity; I was stripped of who I was. And for the first time I knew what doing volunteer work really means. She has, however, brought home valuable lessons from the experience. What struck me is that anti-retrovirals are available at all community centres and VCT clinics, which are easily identifiable, and that being HIV positive and needing to be on medication is not a stigma. This is something, Youlanda feels, we should be working towards here. If we work together we can make it happen, she says. (Allows for photographs)

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The African Bank 2007 World Aids Day Campaign (Page 8 and 9 DPS)
Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand. The theme for World Aids Day in 2007 was leadership, a theme that will be carried through to the event on 1 December again this year. It was selected specifically to encourage leaders at all levels to stop the spread of HIV/Aids. Building on the 2006 theme of accountability, it highlights the vital role that leadership has to play in the fight against the pandemic. Experience has demonstrated that significant advances have been achieved where there is strong and committed leadership, and this theme aims to empower everyone from individuals to organisations and governments to lead in the response to HIV/Aids. The significance of the red ribbon Internationally, the red ribbon has come to symbolise the hope that HIV will one day be overcome. It symbolises support for people living with HIV and Aids, for the continuing efforts of Aids educators, for those who have lost loved ones to the disease, and for the on-going search for successful treatment responses. On World Aids Day last year, African Bank staff distributed hundreds of red ribbons to promote awareness of HIV/Aids, and will do so again this year. Wear yours to show where your heart is. Dance4Life As part of the events programme last year, eager participants also enjoyed participating in the Dance4Life. This is a dynamic, international initiative that actively involves people from all walks of life, encouraging them to use voices and dance as a tool to push back the spread of HIV and Aids, and to fight the stigmas and taboos still attached to it.
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Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, says this of Dance4Life: "Dance is a universal language, dance is freedom, dance is exhilaration, dance is life. Young people deserve care, protection and condoms. Please don't let them dance alone." Fun Walk African Bank staff also joined MSD Pharmaceuticals for a fun walk in Midrand to promote awareness of HIV/Aids. We are extremely proud of those who showed their dedication and support for this walk, even though it poured with rain! The proceeds from the event went to the New Jerusalem HIV Childrens Orphanage, which is situated in Ivory Park, Midrand. Playing Cards HIV/Aids awareness playing cards were distributed to all African Bank employees as well. The objective of this initiative was to enable staff to take the lead and to share HIV related information with family and friends. More exciting events are planned for this year, so watch your bulletin board for further details. (Allows for photographs)

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What to do after testing (Pages 16 and 17)

For those employees who have attended the ACT workshops, and for those who have been unable to attend where workshops have already been held, here is a step-by-step follow-up guide: African Bank employees who have tested HIV positive and who are not on a medical aid: Contact the CareWorks Helpline on 0860 10 11 10. As an African Bank employee, you qualify to enrol in the CareWorks HIV/Aids treatment programme, and there is no charge for participating in it. African Bank employees who have tested HIV positive and who are on a medical aid: Contact your medical aid immediately and enquire about the minimum prescribed benefits for HIV/Aids provided by your medical aid. African Bank employees who have been tested, but who did not collect their results on the day of testing: Contact the CareWorks Call Centre on 0860 10 11 10. You do not need to give your name simply quote the barcode number provided to you by the nurse on the day of testing. African Bank employees who missed the opportunity to participate in the workshop, but who want to take an HIV test: Call the CareWorks Helpline on 0860 10 11 10 and arrange for an appointment to participate in Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) for HIV.

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African Bank employees who have tested HIV positive and who have not yet enrolled in the CareWorks treatment programme: Call the CareWorks Helpline on 0860 10 11 10. African Bank employees who have tested HIV negative: Use the skills you learnt at the workshop to stay HIV negative and help others to do the same. Practice ABC Abstain, Be faithful and Condomise. Retest in three months time to eliminate the three-month window period. African Bank provides free access to the ACT programme for its employees. Please use it it is there for everyone. [Allows for African Bank logo, CareWorks logo, and Choose to Make a Difference logo]

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African Bank HIV/Aids Heroes (Page 18)

(Montage of Photographs and Captions)

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Aids Ribbon Practice ABC Abstain Be Faithful Condomise

BACK COVER (Page 20)

African Bank Awareness to Counselling and Treatment Programme (ACT) An Employee Wellbeing Programme Initiative African Bank CareWorks Helpline: 0860 101 110

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