Public-Private Partnerships in HIV Prevention in India

Article | 01 January 2009

The ILO is partnering with large corporate groups for workplace programmes. Some of them have moved beyond workplace programmes and set up good models of public private partnerships.

“… I never used condoms, but now I have started. I have also learnt about sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS after participating in the sessions, organised by the company,” says Ashik Khan, a 28-year-old truck driver, who is being reached through SAB Miller India’s HIV intervention programme for truckers at their brewery in Neemrana, Rajasthan.

Just like Ashik Khan, many truck drivers are being covered in the HIV prevention efforts of companies, set up under different models of Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

Tyre manufacturing companies like Apollo Tyres and JK Tyres consider their HIV intervention amongst truckers an investment. “At Apollo Tyres we believe that our work in the community, especially the trucking community, is an investment and an opportunity to create a difference in the lives of our stakeholders and customers. Considering its importance to what we do, for us it is just like any other business process. Naturally, here too we set ourselves tough targets and ensure that they are achieved,” says Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Apollo Tyres Ltd.

a) Apollo Tyres Limited

The company started its work modestly in early 2000 when it set up a health care centre for truckers in the Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar in Delhi. This was with initial support from the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).Three years later, Apollo took complete charge of funding, managing and running its own clinic. In the middle of 2006, the company also started its partnership with the ILO, setting up workplace programmes in all four locations where it operates. Apollo’s confidence grew with each successful intervention and the company expanded its work with truckers, seeking different partnerships with Indian State AIDS control societies, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other corporate partners.

As a result, Apollo Tyres had set up nine health care centres in strategic trucking hubs across India by the middle of June 2009, and the company has plans to add five more centres in Tamil Nadu State. Three of the nine clinics are financed completely by Apollo. To date these interventions have reached about 800 000 people; more than 12 000 cases of STIs have been treated and 5000 people have been tested for HIV.

b) JK Tyres Limited

JK Tyres started its intervention with truckers in November 2005, linking with the Transport Corporation of India Foundation, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. JK Tyres set up three clinics on National Highway-8 (NH-8) and organized regular ‘Infotainment’ melas (fairs) around the clinics.

The company began its partnership with ILO in January 2008 for a comprehensive workplace programme in all locations. “Our products move the transport business and we care for the people who actually move the transport – the Truckers. Five clinics on the National Highways – supported by us – help truckers to protect them from the HIV / AIDS. We are happy that many of them are availing of this facility. Not forgetting our own employees, an initiative in collaboration with ILO is aimed at awareness among our employees spread all over India, says Mr. A K Bajoria – President, J K Tyre.

Up to the end of June 2009, about 40 000 people attended the JK Tyres clinics. Around 10 000 people, mostly truckers, were treated for STIs. The clinics have established links with government facilities and refer patients for HIV counseling and testing.

c) SAB Miller India Limited

The company started its truckers’ intervention in Neemrana, Rajasthan State in October 2007. “We at SAB Miller India have a strong focus on our HIV workplace programme for employees and their families. We are also equally committed to reach out to our supply chain (truckers). We believe that spreading the right information goes a long way in dealing with myths and stigma related to HIV,” says Jean Marc, the Managing Director.

SAB Miller launched a programme for truckers named ‘Humsafar’, in partnership with Humana People to People, an NGO. The entire cost of the intervention is borne by the company. Partnership with the Rajasthan State AIDS Control Society (RSACS) gave access to communication materials, condoms and facilitated referral linkages.

Approximately 40 trucks visit the plant in Neemrana every day. Since the launch of the programme, 1000 truck drivers have been contacted through a system of interpersonal communication. “Humsafar is a very innovative programme that raises awareness of HIV through sports events; it is very interesting. The newly installed condom machine is also very beneficial to us,” says Joginder Singh, a 36-year-old truck driver.

The success of the programme encouraged RSACS to set up a condom vending machine at the plant. Approximately 3500 condoms have been distributed in this location to date.

Corporates join hands for truckers’ intervention

Apollo Tyres and Ambuja Cement have given a new dimension to PPP by coming together to provide prevention care and support to truckers. In perhaps the first of its kind partnership, Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) and Apollo Tyres Foundation (ATF) have showcased a model where the two corporate have equally shared the costs of the intervention for truckers at Dhulagarh Truck Terminal, Sankrail, Howrah in the state of West Bengal.

Lessons learned:

  • Different models of PPP are emerging:

- Interventions funded jointly by companies and an international organization.
- Interventions totally funded by companies, implemented by an NGO or the company’s own foundation, with technical assistance/material support from organizations like State AIDS Control Societies/the ILO.
- Interventions funded jointly by corporates that set up their own interventions at strategic points.

  • Companies get into PPP for different reasons: For instance, tyre companies view their involvement with truckers as a strategic investment; while other companies start a PPP as part of their commitment to CSR. Either way, experience shows that the interventions proved to be very good for business relations and improved the corporate image of the companies.
  • Interventions with truckers provided an opportunity for companies to become part of the National AIDS Control Programme, which prioritizes this group. Both BILT and Apollo Tyres were nominated to become representatives of the private sector on the Country Coordination Mechanism, set up under the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • Usually, interventions started with some funding from international organizations. As companies got more involved and gained confidence, they started putting their own funds into the programmes.
  • Confidence from a successful workplace programme triggers PPP initiatives and vice versa. Apollo Tyres, JK Tyres and Ambuja Cements were already running interventions with truckers before they started their HIV workplace programmes. SAB Miller got involved with truckers after they had started their workplace intervention.
  • The ILO’s approach of partnering with corporate groups and encouraging them to develop workplace policies and programmes that included their contractual staff has been very useful. In particular it has helped companies to understand the need for interventions in and around their business areas and major trucking points.
  • Technical support is the key to triggering PPP. The ILO’s training gave companies the confidence to venture into initiatives beyond the workplace.

A documentation of Good Practices:

Prevention of HIV/AIDS in the World of Work: A Tripartite Response