Daimler AG joins the rest of the world in commemorating World AIDS Day on December 1st 2011.
AIDS matters so much because it causes too many premature deaths of economically active men and women, many of whom had children too young to fend for themselves. It leads to untold misery to far too many households, bringing with it human insecurity, illness and poverty. Also, HIV/AIDS remains a significant threat to business and an obstacle to sustained economic growth in the developing world – especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
While globally the HIV pandemic has stabilised, infection rates continue to grow in high-risk groups, including sex workers and injecting drug users, and also amongst the general population in Eastern Europe, India, China and South East Asia.
The theme of World AIDS Day in 2011 Getting to Zero. The campaign is coordinated globally by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and focuses on galvanising global action to achieve:
Zero New HIV Infections
Zero AIDS-related Deaths
World AIDS Day reminds us that HIV/AIDS has not gone away and that there are many challenges still to be tackled. Testing for HIV as a part of your regular general health check is the key to winning the global war against HIV/AIDS.
In the Mercedez-Benz South Africa Group of Companies World AIDS Day will be commemorated in 2011 under the banner of South Africa is Taking Responsibility. The Mercedes-Benz Group of Companies in South Africa is taking Responsibility and, once again, pledges to continue to develop and strengthen Employee Health and Wellbeing Programmes to ensure universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support for employees and their families and to invest in community-based HIV/AIDS prevention and care projects. Employees have been urged to show their commitment to Getting to Zero and South Africa is Taking Responsibility by participating in the commemoration activities planned at both East London and Zwartkop locations.
East London: Mercedes-Benz South Africa is hosting canteen lunch-talks by wellness centre staff and peer educators – focusing on the Getting to Zero theme. ‚Trees of Life‘ will be placed in canteens and employees are invited to write cards of remembrance for loved ones that have passed on as a result of HIV & AIDS. The trees, and the trees purchased for Arbor Day, will be planted in the Gately Stream area to create an indigenous wooded area. Donation bins will also be placed in the canteens and at the entrance gates. You are invited to place any clothing, shoes, canned food, etc. that you feel would be useful to someone affected by HIV & AIDS.
Zwartkop: The headquarters of the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Group of Companies will be hosting 83 children (aged between 5 and 6), and 15 caregivers from the Ekukhanyeni Relief Project ‘Home of Hope and Light’ in Lawley. The Early Childhood Development Project has been supported by MBSA for the past three years. A ‘Tree of Life’ will be displayed at Reception 2 from the 25th of November and employees are invited to write messages of remembrance to their loved ones, who have lost their lives or been otherwise impacted by HIV & AIDS or related illnesses. On World AIDS day, MBGoC employees will ‘meet and greet’ children and caregivers from Ekukhanyeni Relief Projection their arrival at the main entrance gate and walk together to the tree-planting site. During the tree planting, Nobuzwe Mangcu, the Executive Director of Corporate Affairs will give a key message and the children will sing as the tree is planted. After the ceremony, snacks and refreshments will be served to the children and the AfterSales Division will also hand out soft toys to the children as a gift of hope and love.
Dr. Clifford Panter manages employee health, safety and wellbeing strategies, programmes and related benefits and services for the Mercedes-Benz Group of Companies in South Africa – including the corporation’s HIV/AIDS workplace programmes, which are widely regarded as a benchmark, having received international recognition in the form of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria 2002 Award for Leadership and Business Excellence. Dr. Panter currently represents Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s parent company, Daimler AG, at GBCHealth and serves as the Daimler AG „Centre of Competence on HIV/AIDS“ within the Corporation’s Health & Safety Directorate.