Steel Fights AIDS – Tata Steel’s Response to HIV/AIDS

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INDIACSR Bureau

JAMSHEDPUR: By early 1990s it was obvious that Prevention was the best approach to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a conscious Corporate Citizen, Tata Steel Ltd. started AIDS Awareness Programmes both in the workplace and in the community. Tata Steel Ltd reaffirms its commitment to UNAIDS Theme for 2011 – 2015 “Getting To Zero”.

The Company developed effective responses to the epidemic by building special infrastructure and the establishment of the AIDS Cell, Tata Steel. The senior management issued a policy on HIV/AIDS which was widely circulated to all stakeholders to inform them on the organisation’s initiatives to tackle the epidemic. To give a greater emphasis on expanded interventions across all locations, this was subsequently upgraded to Nodal Centre for AIDS with the task of bringing focused efforts across Tata Steel as well as networking with other Medical Institutions, Governmental & International agencies.

Our HIV/AIDS programmes are effective because they are guided by an HIV/AIDS Policy which is signed by the Managing Director; have excellent Management-Union support; easily integrate into organizational structure; minimize work disruptions and financial burden to both the company and employees; reduce fear and discrimination; contribute to higher staff morale and a positive corporate image both internally and in the community.

The KPM for HIV/AIDS is the no. of AIDS Awareness Programmes conducted. These are shown as a comparison in the following table:

Financial Yearand No. of AIDS Awareness Programmes conducted

FY 09      –              1,486

FY 10      –              1,138

FY 11      –              1,197

FY 12      –              1,500

In FY12, the workplace interventions benefitted approximately 926 regular as well as contract labour.

To increase the reach, Awareness of HIV/AIDS has been included in all components of Health & Projects of Corporate Sustainability Services Division at East & West Singhbhum, Saraikela – Kharsawan Districts such as programmes conducted by Sneh Kendra in the Community and in Urban Services, SAHAS & RISHTA Projects of TSRDS & TSFIF, APNI BATEIN a Project of TSFIF, KAVACH Project of TSRDS.

Awareness Programmes are also interwoven in all TSRDS Projects in out-locations at Mines & Collieries.

Care & support is also an important component of our initiatives.

1. All HIV+ employees and their dependents are provided with counselling and medicines for HIV, free of cost by the Company at Tata Main Hospital (TMH). The hospital has a non-discriminatory approach and HIV+ patients are treated with dignity.

2. A “Single window” health delivery concept, Sneh Kendra, started in July 2005, provides care and support to 389 People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) from the community and Tata Main Hospital. The family members of the PLWHA from the community regularly come for treatment of Opportunistic Infections, counselling, group support and life skills training. 1305 patient-visits were attended in FY12. They are also benefiting from programmes of Nutritional supplement for 15 infected infants, children, adults and lactating mother; economic support for education of 30 infected and affected children, formation of Self Help Group – SANKALP Mahila Samiti formed by Women Living with HIV/AIDS  who run two canteens in the CSS Office premises for economic rehabilitation and sustainability. 27 women have also been taught costume Jewellery making & supply of Red Ribbons which they can work from home and add to their income.

3. PPTCT programme is a service component offered to pregnant Women Living with HIV/AIDS at Tata Main Hospital in partnership with Sneh Kendra.  Since past 5 years 23 HIV+ women have delivered at TMH and none of the babies have tested HIV+.

4. Jamshedpur Blood Bank provides HIV-free quality blood and free blood supply for PLWHA persons.

5.  Gopalpur in Odhisa started a 20-bedded Hospice at Ganjam District which has treated about a thousand HIV positive cases.

6. Condom Promotion & Distribution is an ongoing activity to achieve Behaviour Change for safer practices.

7. Managerial and resource support is given to members of Jamshedpur Network of Positive People of JSACS. Helped in registration of NP+ Jamshedpur Chapter

8. To express solidarity with People Living with HIV/AIDS, 6000 people participated in special programmes that were observed namely International Candlelight Memorial Day, Children’s Day & World AIDS Day & Month.

Public – Private – Partnership

In FY 11, an IEC Van is provided by JSACS to TSRDS for spreading AIDS Awareness in rural and semi-urban areas of 6 districts of Jharkhand. This van accompanied by two Nukkad Nataks from the Centre for Family Initiative & Health is very popular and is in operation since May 2009. A population of 118,732 covered in 854 villages and Urban Bustee Areas. In FY11, the van covered approx. 7,500 rural population between Oct. – Dec. ’10.

Health Information Management System (HIMS) was initiated to generate report on HIV/AIDS statistics from major health care institutions of Jamshedpur. The report is collected by office of Nodal Centre for AIDS, Tata Steel from the identified health care institutions, compiled and submitted to Civil Surgeon (ES)’s office indicated 200 HIV Positive cases for FY12.

Training of Government personnel on request is done by sharing our technical skills. 117 Government Medical College & ICTC staff were trained in FY12.

There are a number of “Firsts” to our credit –

An HIV/AIDS Policy. This itself has undergone changes and has involved (PLWHA) People Living with HIV/AIDS in framing it. The latest is 2009 version. This is the guiding light for Nodal Centre – AIDS, Tata Steel on HIV/AIDS initiatives.

There is no pre-employment testing for HIV/AIDS.

Workplace interventions began in early 1990s and has resulted in workplace being free of Stigma & Discrimination

TMH started the use of disposal syringe and needles as a preventive method before other health institutions in India.

Since early 1990s, all HIV+ employees or their dependents are provided with HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Treatment) for HIV free of cost by the Company.

Jamshedpur Blood Bank which provides approx. 35,000 units of HIV-free quality blood every year since over two decades.

In 2005, Sneh Kendra was the first drop-in centre in the region and is very popular with People Living with HIV/AIDS.

Tata Steel believes in networking for resource sharing in HIV/AIDS and partners regularly with NACO, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria, ILO, UNAIDS, UNDP, CII-IBT, Jharkhand & Orissa State AIDS Control Societies, TCIF to name a few. Tata Steel Ltd. is conferred with a number of awards for its initiatives in HIV/AIDS:

TERI Corporate Award for HIV/AIDS May 2008 for Sneh Kendra.

TCIF “Golden Certifcate” was given in 2007.

“Award for Corporate Social Responsibility in Public Health” conferred by the US-India Business Council (USIBC), Population Services International (PSI) and The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for outstanding contribution to combat HIV/AIDS in  March 2007.

Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS Award 2003 for its initiatives on HIV/AIDS in the community.

It may be noted that HIV/AIDS initiatives was successfully assessed in Deming Award Application 2008.

(www.indiacsr.in)

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