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Del Monte Kenya receives global HIV award

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Del Monte Kenya has received commendation for its HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme at the 2011 Global Business Coalition (GBC) Business Action on Health Awards.

The awards, which are presented by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, recognise the best corporate programmes developed to address global health needs.

Del Monte Kenya’s HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme made a final shortlist of nine out of more than 70 programmes from companies all over the world nominated to contest the workplace/ workforce engagement category under the awards. Gold Fields Ghana Ltd won the category.

The winners will receive their awards during GBC’s annual conference on June 2 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York, USA.

The GBC is a non-profit making organisation formed to fight HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Its membership is global and it has a local chapter in Kenya.
Del Monte Kenya Ltd Managing Director Stergios Gkaliamoutsas welcomed the commendation terming it an endorsement of the company’s success in combating HIV/AIDS under its HIV/AIDS workplace programme.

Del Monte Kenya launched the programme in 2001 to create awareness about the disease among its staff and the neighboring community at a time when the company was losing an average 40 employees per year to the disease. HIV/AIDS prevalence in Thika at the time stood at 37.4 percent.

While launching the programme in 2001, Del Monte Kenya partnered with the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) and the Population Services International to create awareness about the disease particularly among its employees and the community, and occasion a behavioral change.

An initial 94 Peer Educators drawn from staff and community were trained and released to educate fellow staff, their families and community about the disease and to encourage them to talk openly about it. Voluntary testing was encouraged, counseling given where necessary with the PSI and Liverpool VCT further training the staff and community on the use of female condoms. Condom dispenses were also installed for use by the staff and community.

In 2009 the GBC Kenyan Chapter introduced the Wellness Programme which was a combined approach of addressing the HIV/ TB/ Malaria diseases at the workplace. Through it, GBC with cooperation from Hope Worldwide encouraged more companies to start HIV/AIDS management programmes, interact and share experiences and where necessary undertake joint initiatives targeted at both staff and community.

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Through a Youth Enterprise Programme introduced by Hope Worldwide, Del Monte has been able to empower some 280 youth with computer skills as well as create HIV/AIDS, and drug & substance abuse awareness among them.

Del Monte Kenya is also working with the Kenya Human Rights Commission, local churches and other local organizations in implementing the program beyond the company.

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