June 4, 2009
Formed as a public-private entity to promote commerce, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) is planning to build roadside wellness centers for truck drivers along three major highways in an effort to fight HIV/AIDS. The centers will be established along the Trans Kalahari, Trans Caprivi, and Trans Cunene routes.
With the support of the German Development Agency, WBCG will offer truck drivers a basic health information toolkit that will contain a simple first aid kit, condoms, and information about HIV/AIDS in the form of brochures and CDs.
"HIV and AIDS prevalence is considered to be high in the transport sector, especially among migrant workers such as truck drivers," said Edward Shivute, WBCG's HIV/AIDS Help Desk project coordinator. "As a response to this threat to all business operations, WBCG launched its HIV/AIDS Help Desk in 2003 to address HIV and AIDS in a comprehensive and cost-effective way through combined efforts and shared resources with its transport member companies."
WBCG's Help Desk is encouraging members to establish voluntary HIV testing and counseling services for employees, Shivute said. If at least half of transportation companies implemented a testing program, a baseline prevalence level could be estimated for the sector, he said.
Outreach targeting truckers is difficult, as they spend most time on the road, Shivute said. Peer education can be challenged by turnover, lack of incentives, and demands for high productivity, he said.