FMCSA honoured for HIV/AIDS leadership
proud Johan Strydom with the international award
received by Ford Motor Company of South Africa for its
sterling work in the HIV/AIDS arena.
lifts its hat, congratulates, applauds, pays tribute - you
name it - to the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA)
for receiving an international award for the work it has done
in the field of HIV/AIDS.
award - bestowed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) - is for a US-based company with an international presence.
South Africa can be justifiably proud in that FMCSA was the
only company outside the USA to receive the Organisational
Award, which recognises the highly effective workplace program
put together by FMCSA and the contribution made by the company
towards educating other employers in the area of HIV/AIDS.
has created the "Business/Labour Responds to AIDS"
programmes to foster and facilitate HIV/AIDS programmes in
the workplace. Under this programme, businesses, labour groups
and other organisations that have created and implemented
exemplary HIV/AIDS workplace programmes are honoured.
award was received on behalf of the company by Johan Strydom,
manager personnel services, at the "Business/Labour Responds
to AIDS" conference in held Washington DC last month.
was also asked to present an HIV/AIDS workshop on each of
the two days of the conference and to conclude proceedings,
was invited to give a keynote address along with the US Secretary
of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala.
address covered the initiatives taken by Ford Motor Company
in terms of its workplace program, which was held up as an
excellent example to the conference delegates. His address
was enthusiastically received and has resulted in a number
of organisations seeking assistance in their efforts to fight
the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
variety of government and non government institutions in Southern
Africa have already approached FMCSA for guidance and assistance
in the design and implementation of workplace programs to
address the HIV/AIDS pandemic on a practical level.
theme of the second CDC Conference was "Now More Than
Ever" and its aim was to help educate the workforce of
America and abroad about the impact of HIV and AIDS in the
workplace. It gave delegates an opportunity to meet labour
leaders and model employers such as the FMCSA. It allowed
delegates to network with colleagues who face HIV issues and
to learn from experts who presented throughout the conference.
their welcome address to the delegates, the Conference organisers
stated that if current trends persist, it is likely that 60
to 70 million people worldwide will be infected with HIV by
the end of 2000. The potential worldwide economic impact of
this infection rate could equal 1,4% of the world's gross
domestic product annually.
we have spent the last decade learning about HIV and AIDS
and relaying the importance to the workplace, we must ensure
that the message is still as important as it was 10 years
ago. This conference has been appropriately titled "Now
More Than Ever" to communicate the message that HIV and
AIDS are still a threat to our society and the global economy.
It is imperative that we work together to implement educational
models, benefits programs, management models and corporate
philanthropic initiatives that address the new changing demands
of this dynamic pandemic."
conference drew people from abroad and visitors from South
Africa included a delegate from each of the three major trade
union confederations COSATU, NACTU and FEDUSA. A government
representative from Botswana and a delegate from Chevron,
Nigeria also attended the conference.
The Ford Motor Company of South Africa, which employs more
than 3 700 people, developed its HIV/AIDS workplace programme
during the second quarter of 1999. The program is led by a
steering committee chaired by the CEO and group MD, Marcos
Oliveira, with cross-functional representation by both management
and employee representatives, meeting on a monthly basis.
company developed a comprehensive programme to focus on education,
testing, communication and community involvement, in partnership
with NUMSA and CDC. Two HIV/AIDS programme coordinators were
appointed to lead this initiative in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth,
where the company has its facilities.
program is extended to employees, contract workers, pensioners
and their families and has reached more than 12 000 people.
The company has provided leadership on HIV/AIDS within the
South African auto industry by serving as a resource and hosted
an HIV/AIDS conference with other employers.
steering committee believes that employees no longer hesitate
to engage in open discussion on the topic of HIV/AIDS, with
more and more seeking advice and clarity.
programme has put a stop to the rhetoric surrounding HIV/AIDS
and moved into action in the fight against the spread of the
disease with passion, energy and an enthusiastic commitment.
has also heard that FMCSA is getting more involved in spreading
the HIV/AIDS message wider working on a project in Port Elizabeth
to put an HIV/Aids awareness programme into primary schools
which the company intends bringing to Gauteng later.
lifts its hat to this company for the proactive stance it
has taken to positively impact on the problem of HIV/AIDS.
It is heartening to know that while our President indulges
in irrelevant debates which merely serve to titillate the
minds of a few academics, there are companies like FMCSA which
are tackling the issue the way it should be tackled - head-on.