Coca-Cola Africa Foundation To Offer Antiretrovirals to Workers and Their Families
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has announced that all 40 of their independent bottling companies have enrolled in a program designed to provide antiretroviral drugs to their employees, the Namibian reports. The drugs, along with other HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, treatment and prevention programs, will be available to the companies' employees and their families, according to Robert Ahomka Lindsay, president of the board of trustees of the foundation. The foundation will be assisting the independent bottling companies in providing access to antiretroviral drugs for an estimated 60,000 employees. Employees of Namibia Beverages, a Coca-Cola bottling company, began receiving the drugs in October 2002 through the company's medical program. "We are aware of the potential impact of HIV/AIDS on our valued employees in Namibia and we are very pleased to be able to further enhance our current workplace HIV/AIDS program," Frik Oosthuizen, managing director of Namibia Beverages, said (Namibian, 4/8). The foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, PharmAccess International and Population Services International in September 2002 announced the launch of an HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment program at 40 bottling companies in Africa. Coca-Cola will pay half of the cost of the plan, and the bottlers will cover about 40% of the cost of the program. Employees will contribute 10% toward the cost of any treatment provided under the program (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/18/2002). Coca-Cola made the new announcement almost a year and a half after the company originally announced its intent to provide the drugs at a 2001 U.N. General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, meeting its self-imposed March 2003 deadline for enrolling all independent African bottling companies (HealthGAP release/oneworld.net, 3/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.