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SABMiller India’s HIV/AIDS ‘Project Humsafar’ reaches over 38,000 truckers

Dec 03, 2012

SABMiller's programme works with truckers on the India's roads to educates and create mass awareness amongst tem regarding HIV/AIDS. Most of these truckers are based in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Puducherry and Karnataka.

SABMiller India’s innovative HIV/AIDS programme ‘Humsafar’ has been able to create mass awareness amongst truckers in high prevalence states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Puducherry, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Launched in 2008, the programme emphasises on educating and creating awareness amongst the truckers on HIV/AIDS through various outreach activities in its breweries like one-on-one interactions and group discussions.

The programme, since 2008  has reached over 38,000 truckers with 26,603 truckers reached through one-on-one and group discussions, referred 2,546 truckers to civil hospitals and nearby Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres, reached 5359 truckers through mass media tools such as street plays, films etc. and distributed 80,816 condoms through social marketing.According to Ajit Jha, Director, Corporate Affairs and Communications, SABMiller India, “Increasing awareness about HIV/AIDS is a key sustainable development priority for SABMiller India. HIV/AIDS is one of the most important development challenges facing us today and SABMiller India has been actively working towards fighting HIV/AIDS through various initiatives.”As part of the project, interventions are carried out at the breweries and at other locations where truck drivers halt frequently for sufficient duration, for instance food joints along the highway. Since literacy rates amongst truckers are low, mass media tools such as movies, videos, games etc. are widely used to effectively take the message to truckers.

The programme also has a very strong referral component where the target populations are encouraged to avail of the free counselling and testing services made available by the government and local NGOs at the nearby ICTC (Integrated counseling and testing centre).These interventions are conducted by local partner NGOs (Humana in Rajasthan and Haryana; SONIC in Puducherry; Bhoruka Charitable Trust in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) and State AIDS Control Societies are supported by SABMiller India HIV/AIDs master trainers. To ensure optimum and effective outreach of the messages, peer creation from within the target groups is given special emphasis. In the truckers programme, special emphasis is laid on promoting correct usage of condoms with an ensured on-site availability through condom vending machines. SABMiller India has been recognized by the ILO as a corporate partner that has made valuable contributions to the National AIDS Control Programme.

According to Divya Verma, National Programme Coordinator, HIV /AIDS Programme, ILO “SABMiller India’s truckers programme ‘Humsafar’ has been able to emphasize on educating and creating awareness amongst the truckers on HIV/AIDS through various outreach activities. The programme addresses the issue of stigma and discrimination and has been able to contribute valuably towards the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

‘Humsafar’ was first launched at one of SABMiller India’s biggest breweries Rochees Breweries (RBL) in Rajasthan in partnership with Humana People To People, a Rajasthan-based NGO and Rajasthan State Aids Control Society. It was later extended to other locations – SICA Breweries in Pondicherry; Mysore Breweries in Karnataka; Charminar Breweries in Andhra Pradesh and more recently to Haryana Breweries in Sonipat. HIV/AIDS is one of the key sustainable development priorities for SABMiller India and it takes an active interest in promoting and creating awareness around such social issues.

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