Debswana ART Programme, Botswana | Print |

Debswana, the jointly owned Botswana diamond mining firm which is 50-50 owned by the government and De Beers, was the first mining company in the world to offer free antiretroviral treatment to HIV positive employees and family members starting in 2001. In 2006, Debswana extended its HIV disease management programme to include up to three children of employees under the age of 21. The company currently has more than 700 people registered on its ART programme.

Botswana has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world. The Botswana government spent more than P650 million (US$130 million) in direct costs on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, mitigation, support and care programmes in 2005.

Debswana believes that providing a family approach to medical care has benefits both for affected employees and their families and the company. It can do away with the duplicate time spent on medical issues by different family members, thereby enhancing productivity. Since it also addresses employee fears about their children’s health, it also boosts morale and wellbeing.

With an adherence rate of more than 90 percent, the programme provides direct benefits for the company by reducing deaths from AIDS-related conditions, ill-health retirements, and production time lost. Indeed, comprehensive treatment and support assists in the prevention of drug resistance that can arise from not adhering to treatment.

Debswana spent P9.7 million (US$1.9 million) plus labour costs on its HIV programme, of which the ART fund constitutes P5.6 million (US$1.1 million).

"By extending our antiretroviral treatment programme to employees' children we live our core value of 'Show We Care' and contribute to our reputation as a good corporate citizen," said Onalethata Johnson, Debswana Manager, HIV/AIDS Impact Management.

 

Contact details:

Head Office

Debswana House

P O Box 329

Gaborone

Botswana

Tel + 267 361 4200

Fax + 267 318 0778

 

Public and Corporate Affairs Manager

Tel + 267 361 4216

Fax + 267 318 0778