A value of Thorburn is: Care for Employees. Even though the topics of AIDS and HIV have become warn out, the realities of these infections remain a very compelling issue for the security industry as it affects all the employees and thus daily operations. Dennis Hutchinson (HR Manager), Abigail Damon (Health & Safety Manager) and Caryn Maree (Marketing Manager) put heads together to find a way to promote TB and HIV awareness within the company. The TB/HIV Care Association came on board as this is exactly what their workplace service entails. This Association is very well resourced and organised and Thorburn is proud to be aligning with them to roll out this fundamental campaign through intense logistical arrangements: Thorburn Security Solutions (Southern Region) has clients ranging geographically from Cape Town Metropolitan, from George to Saldanah, to Alexanderbay, Upington and Kathu. It is a big task to implement but Thorburn believes in this value and the programme will provide mechanisms to help all employees with these relevant issues in appropriate manners. The programme will see that the TB/HIV Care Association’s information session on TB and HIV is presented to all employees and thereafter facilitate voluntary HIV testing and counselling, referrals and follow-ups where necessary.
To launch this awareness campaign, Thorburn’s management team and head office staff came together on Thursday afternoon 6 December to be introduced to the content of the programme and the services that will be made available to their staff. Ms Ursula Poggenpoel-Smith from the TB/HIV Care Association gave a very energetic and comical talk – her information session handled about healthy living and lifestyle choices that are informed and responsible. She explained the scientific and biological facts about TB and HIV but more over emphasised the fact that these infections and severe consequences can be managed and even prevented. Thorburn Operations Manager, Quinton Raal, addressed the audience and said: “These statistics and facts are intimidating and it is our responsibility as parents to have these honest conversations with our children and teach them how to live healthy physical, emotional and sexual lives.”
It is also a value of the Care Association that management should take the lead by getting tested as well and also to be familiar with the process their subordinates will be participating in. So after the information session the managers went for their voluntary test to find out or confirm their HIV status.
Virgin Active Tygervalley brought their very complementary services along to the launch where they took people’s body mass indexes and blood pressure and calculated other indicators such as bone mass, water retention and metabolic ages – some staff were shocked, others were elated that their healthy lifestyles reflected in their physical wellbeing. Holistic health includes being healthy physically (exercising and eating well), emotionally (having good relationships and friends), spiritually, dealing with stress and sexually. By promoting healthy lifestyles in all these aspects we can offer our employees and opportunity to have more successful treatments for, or prevention of, getting infected by TB or HIV.
Ms Poggenpoel-Smith encouraged the mangers and endorsed the programme when she said: “By being aware of these facts and the implications treatment and infections and lifestyle choices have on people’s daily lives; we are all better equipped to manage our people with better context and understanding.” Knowledge is power.