Wellness and HIV/AIDS

The strategic importance of employee health and wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is intrinsic to the success of any business. As a Group with a significant presence in the healthcare sector, we are acutely aware of the competitive advantage that employee wellbeing provides. In addition to having a direct impact on productivity, it enhances employee engagement, enabling a high performance culture and consequently promoting organisational success. Our focus is therefore on providing an integrated, proactive employee wellbeing programme (EWP) that contributes directly to the AfroCentric Group’s bottom line through the wellbeing of our people, culture and practices.

It’s vital that our EWP gives our employees access to relevant and appropriate services in order to truly satisfy their needs. We believe the programme should address 5 pillars of holistic health namely emotional, physical, social, spiritual and financial wellbeing. The focus of the programme is to enable individuals to achieve balance in all these areas in such a way as to improve their personal and work lives. To that end, the EWP is comprised of the following components (descriptions are not exhaustive):

1. Lifestyle management programme
An individualised lifestyle management and health risk reduction programme. It is based on scientific research and backed by clinical data providing detailed health risk information, personalised action plans and information, tools and mentorship all designed to ensure success.
2. Emotional wellbeing programme
Delivers a range of services to employees and their dependants and includes provision of ongoing psychological, legal, financial and managerial support.  Emotional support is facilitated through direct, confidential and unlimited access to a 24 hour telephonic support service with calls being answered by fully qualified counsellors and available in all eleven official languages.  In addition, face-to-face psychological counselling is provided for by qualified and registered clinicians.

Legal services include telephonic legal advice, the provision of precedents and pro-forma documentation as well as referrals to appropriate legal services and bodies.


Managers are given access to training and a consultancy service to give in-depth support to existing supervisor-employee relationships.  The programme also makes provision for conflict resolution and mediation services.
3. Financial wellbeing programme
Provides financial wellness workshops, personalised face-to-face consultations and electronic solutions, facilitated by a network of highly qualified financial service providers.  The services include budgeting assistance, debt management, credit health and personal loans, home loan solutions, vehicle sourcing and financing, savings and investments solutions and access to self directed online programmes.
4. HIV programme
This is facilitated by Aid for Aids (AfA), our subsidiary in AfroCentric Health.  Employees gain access to the programme within the framework of the medical schemes that are available to them.  By enrolling on the programme, employees living with HIV are able to benefit from comprehensive, individualised and confidential care including funding of their treatment, emotional support and a range of other world class services.

 

Our EWP is governed by certain principles that are never compromised:

Employee wellbeing is not managed in isolation but forms an integral part of business drivers such as good corporate governance, productivity and absenteeism management. The process always contributes to the promotion of successfully achieving a healthy work-life balance for employees.

The EWP is linked to other Human Capital practices and processes such as disability, absence and incapacity management.

An employee’s right to privacy is recognised and confidentiality is maintained throughout every level of the EWP.

The EWP is accessible to all employees and participation is always voluntary.

An employee seeking assistance through the EWP will not jeopardise their job security, compensation, career advancement opportunities or reputation.

The EWP is intended to empower employees to take responsibility for their overall personal wellbeing.

Managing HIV in the workplace

The AfroCentric Group is committed to addressing the challenges of managing HIV in our workplace in an effective and holistic manner.  Our subsidiary ‘Aid for Aids’ (part of AfroCentric Health) is South Africa’s premier HIV management company.   Aid for Aids (AfA) has been providing HIV management solutions in the private sector to medical schemes and companies since 1998.  In that time, they have managed over 220 000 people living with HIV.  This resource gives us a significant advantage as a Group when it comes to fulfilling our commitment to our own employees in this regard.

Our HIV/AIDS workplace policy makes provision for the elimination of stigmatisation and discrimination.  Furthermore, it guarantees confidentiality of any medical information relating to HIV status that any of the AfroCentric Group’s representatives may have in their possession by virtue of their position in the company.

AfA provides an integrated approach to HIV management which AfroCentric employees can access within the framework of the medical schemes available to them.  Some of the benefits that are offered include:

HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT)

Education and awareness campaigns

Emotional support via trained treatment counsellors

Access to AfA’s clinical protocols, widely regarded as the benchmark in HIV treatment

Funding for appropriate care and treatment including antiretrovirals

The aim of antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV is to ensure that less than 1000 copies/mL of the virus are detected in the blood, which is viral load suppression.  Viral suppression reduces illness, death, the development of drug resistance and the spread of new infections.  When HIV is undetectable, it means the virus isn’t replicating and people can live healthy, productive lives.  Over the last 10 years, AfA have managed to implement interventions which have led to viral load suppression for 85% of the people registered on the programme.  By way of comparison, the South African national target is 80% suppression and the Unites States has achieved less than 40% suppression.

AfA exists to enable people living with HIV to lead healthy productive lives and in the process, reduces financial risk for employers and medical schemes.

In addition to the benefits offered to our employees directly, AfA have contributed to the Group’s HIV and AIDS organizational strategy by providing consulting services and conducting KAP (Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices) surveys within the workplace.

The benefits of this professionally managed HIV/AIDS programme include:

Extended, productive lives and improved work performance

Reduced sick leave, absenteeism and overtime

Reduced recruitment and retraining costs

Reduced loss of morale in colleagues

Reduced time spent by management in dealing with issues related to AIDS sickness

Reduced claims from death benefits or life insurance, thereby limiting the impact on premiums

Sustained contributions to medical funds

 

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