SACTWU is the largest trade union managing retail workers in the clothing, textile, leather and footwear businesses within five provinces in South Africa. The geographic areas in which they operate are: Kwa Zulu Natal; Western Cape; Eastern Cape; Free State and in Gauteng. SACTWU Worker Health Programme (SWHP) which was organized in 1998, has a proven track record in providing health care services to blue collared workers. Currently it has extended service offerings to all COSATU affiliates, with a combined membership of over 1.8 million. It conducts interventions across the full range of HIV care including prevention and awareness education; VCT; treatment, care and support and home based care.
Provide TB education and health care services to workers and their dependents; intensify case findings and increase the early detection rate of TB amongst blue collared workers and their dependents; introduce TB treatment, improve treatment adherence and ultimately treatment success rates, at the workplace and within communities, through implementation of DOTS
Since 2010, SWHP has received funding from the USAID Tuberculosis (TB) Project South Africa through its small grants program to roll-out a TB workplace prevention and program in the above mentioned provinces. To date, through SWHP’s activities:
58,577 workers have received TB education and awareness training at factories. TB trainers provide TB awareness and training during workers’ lunch and tea breaks.
On a quarterly basis, newly appointed shop stewards – i.e., union representatives who are employees of factories but also labor union officials – are trained during a formal 1 day “TB and Infection Control” training to enable them to help educate workers about TB and provide TB related advocacy to management. To date, 549 shop stewards have been trained.
Our team visited Wynberg Senior Secondary School from July 30-August 2, 2012 to do TB awareness sessions. The head of Life Orientation, informed us that a Grade 10 learner, after listening to our message, asked her mother to take her for a sputum test. Her result came back as being TB positive and she was put onto treatment at a DOH clinic
- SWHP quarterly report, September 2012
TB awareness talks were conducted in schools at assemblies or during life orientation classes in the communities in which workers and their families reside. In total 54,798 adolescents were educated on TB and infection control measures required to protect themselves and others from TB.
At 430 factories, management and workers were trained on infection control measures in the workplace as well as within their own home environments. In addition, infection control committees were formed in factories to oversee the implementation of infection control plans and interventions.
Through symptomatic screening, 1273 workers were found to be presumptive of TB. Forty seven (47) of those were found to be positive for TB and referred to obtain treatment.