HIV / AIDS
In South Africa today, HIV/AIDS is the source of personal suffering on a scale that is unparalleled in our history. The disease affects every level and every sector of society, and in business it is the cause of substantial productivity problems. To try and lessen its impact on our workforce, DaimlerChrysler developed its HIV/AIDS workplace programme in 2001, through which employees are given ongoing education, medical treatment including anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and home-based care, if necessary.
The major focus for DaimlerChrysler's HIV/AIDS workplace programme within the Group (DaimlerChrysler South Africa (Pty) Limited, DaimlerChrysler Financial Services South Africa (Pty) Ltd and debis Fleet Management (Pty) Ltd) has been to encourage employees to take an HIV test to know their own status, so they can either take advantage of the company's HIV/AIDS support programme if positive, or take the necessary precautions to stay negative.
The company's programme enables an HIV-positive employee and family members to receive fully managed health care, including ART, from their own doctor in complete confidence. This has helped HIV to be properly managed like any chronic illness.
Although providing education on HIV/AIDS prevention to all employees and caring for those infected are the major thrusts of DaimlerChrysler's benchmark HIV/AIDS workplace programme, the Group knows that its contribution to the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot stop at the company gates. It must also involve the communities in which employees and customers live.
Reaching out to communities is an important part of the workplace programme, and DaimlerChrysler not only supports various community initiatives, it is also
involved - through the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA) - in providing small- and medium-sized businesses, particularly suppliers, with a toolkit to help develop their own programmes.
DaimlerChrysler's peer educators - employees who receive special training on advising fellow employees about the disease - reach out into their communities, and often their contribution is more than simply offering advice; it extends to the provision of food and caring support.
Critical customer groups, such as truck drivers, are also targeted for information on HIV/AIDS. DaimlerChrysler sponsored a mobile clinic for use on main truck routes.
- Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS - Business Excellence Award
- Global Competitiveness Centre in Engineering - Achievement Award
- International Business Association - 'Stevie' Award
- Mail & Guardian - Investing in the Future Award
- T-Systems Age of Innovation and Sustainability Awards - Grand Prix winner
- NOSA - HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme Excellence Award
- NOSA - Best Global HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme Manager Award
- For exemplary work fighting HIV/AIDS - Bambi Award (the Burda publishing group's annual media prize)
Beyond public recognition is the tangible evidence at ground level that the programme is producing the desired result.
- a significant drop in the rate of HIV/AIDS-related deaths over the first five years of the programme;
- not a single child of HIV-positive DaimlerChrysler mothers using mother-to-child transmission treatment offered by the group's medical aid scheme, becoming infected;
- more than 96% of all employees responding to the Group's voluntary counselling and testing campaign to determine their HIV status; and
- the survival rate of HIV-positive employees and family members on ART now equalling that of North America and Europe.
Collaborating to widen the impact
The DSCA, Border-Kei Chamber of Business and Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft HIV/AIDS project for small and medium enterprises in
Buffalo City is unparalleled anywhere in the country and worldwide, and involves both the private and public sector.
The project will see the investment of more than R4 million in 2006 and 2007 aimed at ensuring improved prevention, care, support and treatment of HIV/AIDS amongst employees in small and medium enterprises, and at strengthening comprehensive primary health care while simultaneously assisting business to manage the risks associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.