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|SABCOHA developing a KZN business sector strategy on HIV & AIDS & Wellness|
In partnership with the office of the Premier and endorsed by the main business chambers in KwaZulu-Natal including; the Durban, Zululand, Ilembe, Minara, South Coast and Estcourt Umtshezi Chambers of Commerce and Industry , the KwaZulu Natal Private Sector Conference on HIV & AIDS created a platform for all businesses in the province to actively participate in developing a multi-sectoral strategic five year provincial private sector strategy that will inform the National Strategic Plan for 2012-2016.
Organised and facilitated by the South African Business Coalition on HIV & AIDS (SABCOHA), the purpose of the two day conference, themed Strategic Saving for Sustainability, will be to align the activities and strategies of the business sector to those of the provincial strategic plan within KwaZulu-Natal and drive private sector commitment to meaningfully participate in the multi-sectoral response. “Our main aim will be to ensure that after these two days we will have created solid foundation for the development and implementation of a Provincial Business Sector Strategy on HIV & AIDS, TB and Wellness for the next five years. This strategy will form part of the business sectors’ contribution towards the National Strategic Plan currently under consultation with key stakeholders,” says Brad Mears, CEO – SABCOHA.
The KwaZulu Natal local government has stated its development aim; as accelerating economic growth and development in KZN, in order to bring all stakeholders together in pursuit of its vision of creating “a prosperous province with a healthy, secure and a skilled population that acts as the gateway to Africa and the World”. In order to achieve this, it will require a robust and decisive HIV & AIDS strategy. The buy in and sustained participation of business in KZN will be paramount.
Current statistics indicate that the province has the highest burden of disease associated with underdevelopment and poverty in the country (15.8 % HIV prevalence); more than half (54 %) of adult male PLHIV (people living with HIV) reside in the province, which translates to 15.8 % of total population; Tuberculosis is still the largest cause of mortality, with diagnosed cases increasing significantly in last 4 years (1,156 per 100 000 of population, which is 4 times the epidemic threshold as per World Health Organisation.
According to the 2003 Expenditure Survey, KwaZulu-Natal contributed approximately 16.5% to the National GDP.
Mears adds, “When one considers its heavy HIV & AIDS and TB burden, the province’s business sector will continue to be impacted negatively should business not decisively and actively participate in the strategy being crafted for the next 5 years.”
Mears concludes, “As the private sector facilitator, SABCOHA decided it was imperative to establish functional structures in the province, in order to build on the lessons that have been learnt from national programmes, through implementing specific initiatives and sharing information and data. Through our purposefully created online portal, Bizwell, we have created a trustworthy and easy to use mechanism that facilitates this process.
SABCOHA is committed to assisting business in KwaZulu-Natal with the development of a provincial private sector strategy as well as the implementation of key workplace programmes that effectively address the socio-economic effects of HIV & Aids, as well as other Wellness issues.”
At the conclusion of the two days, the appointment of nominees to the SABCOHA KwaZulu-Natal Board of Governors will be finalised. The board’s primary role will be to oversee strategy implementation and also to represent the interests of business in the province.