The management of HIV & AIDS remains a major focus area for the group’s health services and line management alike, as the spread of the disease and its impact continues at both the South African and Zimbabwean operations. Importantly, it is seen to be part of a broad health care management strategy that includes other chronic lifethreatening illnesses. While HIV & AIDS is not an occupational illness, its management is catered for within the occupational health care provision services of the company.
All employees and their dependants have access to medical care through company facilities or contracted service providers. It is known that, in respect of HIV & AIDS, some employees prefer to make use of alternate private or state-owned facilities. The statistics reported reflect only those that are gathered for employees who make use of company facilities and the number of employees and dependants who receive HIV & AIDS treatment from outside facilities is therefore not known.
The cost of HIV & AIDS to the company is not simple to quantify. There is a direct cost to the company in terms of medical treatment and prevention programmes, and also an impact on productivity in the workplace and on the replacement of skills in an industry where skills are in short supply. There is also a close relationship between pulmonary TB and HIV & AIDS. The presence of both infections among the workforce places a significant burden to both the health and well-being of employees and also on health care services.
As with other elements of health and safety, the involvement and support of the group’s unions is an important feature of the HIV & AIDS management programmes. Agreements are in place with unions regarding the management of HIV & AIDS, and these make provision for joint management committees. Through intensive effort, a better understanding and agreement was reached during the year on common objectives and strategies, and the functioning of these committees, particularly at Impala in Rustenburg, has improved.
All employees and their dependants have access to medical care through company facilities or contracted service providers
There are three broad areas within the company’s programme:
Based on estimates, independent analysis and limited testing, it is estimated that the prevalence levels among the company’s workforce is in the region of 23%. There is little scope for undertaking a broad, anonymous, compulsory prevalence testing programme as unions are opposed to this. The results of a VCT campaign undertaken in December 2008 at Impala Rustenburg provided some cause for concern.
The total cost of the HIV & AIDS education and medical programme for employees in Rustenburg was approximately R18.5 million in FY2009. This was R16.1 million in FY2008.
Education and training initiatives continued both in planned, formal programmes (such as induction training) and through the peer educators programme. Peer educators have been appointed and trained at all operations.
Condoms and femidoms are provided by the company to employees and community members.
VCT is available at all of the company’s operations. VCT performance in FY2009 was boosted by a successful VCT campaign undertaken at Impala Rustenburg in December 2008. A total of 6 263 employees underwent testing during the year (FY2008: 3 609 tests).
|Impala Rustenburg||5 595||2 808|
|Group||6 263||3 609|
* Includes dependants and contractors
The Kaelo VCT programme undertaken at Impala Rustenburg in December 2008 was intended to boost and popularise VCT. It was deliberately sub-contracted to a third party in order to cover any employees who may have been reluctant to undergo testing at our in-house facilities.
The campaign was considered to be highly successful, with 2 425 tests done, and 354 new cases diagnosed. Of significant concern, however, were the results of the behavioural study that was undertaken at the same time as the VCT campaign that indicated:
The findings of this survey are being incorporated into future education campaigns.
Employees who are HIV-positive are strongly encouraged and advised to participate in wellness programmes so as to delay the progression of HIV. These programmes are available at all operations through the company or through the various medical aid schemes. The number of employees currently receiving treatment through external medical schemes and the Department of Health facilities is not known. The group also provides wellness and ART directly to employees through its own facilities. During the year, 1 196 new patients were enrolled in the group’s wellness programmes, with a cumulative total of 3 390 patients on the programme at year-end (FY2008: 2 734 patients). This increase is a consequence of the focus to have all HIV positive patients diagnosed and onto treatment programmes.
|Total number of people|
on Wellness programme
|Impala Rustenburg||2 933||2 336|
|Group||3 390||2 734|
|Total number of|
people on ART
|Total number of|
new patients on ART
|Impala Rustenburg||1 122||631||518||272|
The provision of ART to all employees and their dependents through the group’s medical schemes remains a vital component of the Wellness Programme. In FY2009, 592 new patients started on the ART programme, with a total of 1 256 employees and dependants on ART through the group’s medical facilities at year-end (FY2008: 307 new patients and 708 on the ART programme). Note again the potential for under-reporting, as those receiving ART through external medical aids are not known.
Individual patients’ adherence to the ART regimens continues to be a challenge that needs to be closely monitored and managed, and greater effort was placed on this aspect of the programme during the year. Patients often find it difficult to comply with the multi-drug, multi-dosage regimes, as well as the fact that treatment must be taken without interruption for life. Certain patients also experience unpleasant side effects from these drugs. At Impala Rustenburg, HIV-positive peer educators who are on ART themselves, assist the doctor and nursing teams to encourage compliance among individual patients.
In FY2009, 122 patients died in service as a result of known AIDS-related illnesses and a further 116 people left the company’s employ as a result of HIV-related medical issues (FY2008: 105 deaths and 165 medical separations).
Implats is involved in a number of initiatives providing education and care to employees and others around its operations and to the communities where employees live. See the socio-economic development section for further details.
HIV & AIDS is expected to remain a focus area in the year ahead. In particular, the company aims to: