By Anna Shilongo
Responding to the call for every Namibian to be sure of their HIV/AIDS status, Walvis Bay Corridor Group and Jowells Transport recently conducted onsite HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for their employees.
The objective was to create HIV/AIDS awareness amongst the workforce and to stress the importance of knowing their HIV status.
Jowells Transport, one of the leading transport and logistics companies in the country ensured that they had their truck drivers tested following research findings that the nature of their job exposes them to risk, as they tend to have multiple partners.
The onsite HIV voluntary counselling and testing was also in line with the national HIV testing campaign that was launched on May 9, 2008.
And as part of its social and corporate responsibility, Jowells Transport responded promptly to the national HIV testing campaign by ensuring that the VCT services were extended to all employees.
The Walvis Bay Corridor Group HIV/AIDS Help Desk facilitated the process and acknowledged the spirit of commitment demonstrated by the management of Jowells Transport.
Jowells Transport has also set a trend that will encourage other transport companies in Namibia to emulate this remarkable initiative.
Regional Manager Robert Benade was the first client to undergo the VCT process as a move to set an example to his workforce. This led to overwhelming response and participation.
Benade stressed the importance of being sure of one’s HIV status. He said if all citizens know their status, this would enable the country to control the spread of the devastating deadly disease.
“As a major employer of truck drivers in Namibia, Jowells Transport recognizes the health challenges and the vulnerability of mobile workers to HIV infection, and it is for this reason I am encouraging all truck drivers to know their status,” he said.
He said an effective referral system was already in place to accommodate employees whose test results are positive.
Truck drivers are urged to protect themselves from contracting or spreading the disease.
The Walvis Bay Corridor Group HIV/AIDS Help Desk was established to create HIV/AIDS awareness within member companies and families.
The services include assisting member companies to develop their own HIV/AIDS workplace policies, conducting HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns with member companies and training of peer educators.