20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia

TUSA09 AIDS and the Private Sector - Lessons from the Asia Pacific
  Non-Commercial Satellite
Venue: Clarendon Auditorium
Time: 22.07.2014, 07:00 - 08:30
Chair: Annmaree O'Keeffe, Australia

Organizer: Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS (APBCA) The Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS is a network of 11 national business coalitions in the Asia Pacific who assist companies to halt and reverse the spread of AIDS, TB and Malaria. www.apbca.com/AIDS2014
The Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS presents a special session for business operating in the Asia Pacific region at AIDS 2014. Leading businesses such will share their perspectives and strategies for fighting HIV/AIDS, and deepening business and community partnerships in the largest and most populous region in the world. Join key businesses at this special session to learn about workplace strategies and the reputation and productivity benefits of tackling infectious diseases in our region. Panel members include: • Dr James Allen, Asia Pacific Medical Director for Chevron • Dr Jane Thomason, CEO of Abt JTA on her work in PNG • Mr Martin Pun, founder, Myanmar Business Coalition on AIDS Further information: www.apbca.com/AIDS2014

J. Allen, Singapore
D. Thomason, Australia
M. Pun, Myanmar

Powerpoints presentations
Panel -

Rapporteur report

Track E report by Klara Henderson

Panel: James Allen, Jane Thomason, Martin Pun

Moderator: Annmaree O’Keeffe

This session brought together, both in the panel and audience, representatives from industry, the Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS, development partners and those working in the field. Panelists James Allen, Chevron and Jane Thomason, Abt JTA, spoke of the work private sector is doing in delivering health and HIV services in often remote areas of Papua New Guinea, China, Myanmar and in several African countries. Annmaree O’Keeffe moderated the session.

APBCA was launched in 2006 by President Clinton and set up as a not-for-profit collaboration to engage the private sector in addressing HIV/AIDS in Asia Pacific. The coalition is able to draw on the unique skills and experience of industry bringing that knowhow to bear on the HIV/AIDS epidemic often in locations where there is no other service providers. Countries include: Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mongolia

Key messages:

  •        leadership from private sector companies is crucial
  •    “the tail follows the head”
  •       unique position to access communities in sometimes very remote settings
  •      private sector has a symbiotic relationship with the communities in which they are embedded
  •      need to think through how to legitimately move beyond the ‘fence’ to provide services for the whole community
  •      currently a transition occurring in services to offer, need to both keep the focus on HIV, but additionally providing other health services


Jane Thomason, Abt JTA, spoke about the work at Ok Tedi in PNG. The program started with a focus on employees, but when the large disparity between the number of HIV positive cases amongst the Ok Tedi workforce and the broader community became apparent, the Ok Tedi Board approved an expansion to use its resources to address health issues in the wider community – beyond the ‘fence’. This resulted in the establishment of the North Fly Health Services Development Program and more recently similar community health partnership programs in Middle and South Fly Districts. With the advent of the program, health outcomes in North Fly went from one of the worst in the country to one of the best (based on malaria and vaccine coverage indicators, where 3rd dose penta coverage went from 49% in 2009 to now consistently 74%). Before bringing health services to Middle Fly, people had not seen a health professional in more than 30 years - there was a complete absence of health services.

The key lessons learnt from the PNG experience Jane identified as:

- resource companies are keen but need technical help to translate that into action

- need to have a strong monitoring and evaluation system in order to present evidence of success to key stakeholders

- it makes sense to purposefully plan health services into these long-lived mining projects

James Allen from Chevron, explained the business cycle is very long term, it can be from 20 years up to 100 years. Early on Chevron chose to focus their health service offerings – they decided to implement the WHO guidelines on PMTCT in Angola and Nigeria, and in over 13 years of offering that there has not been a single reported case. Now Chevron operates more broadly, for example, in Myanmar they have gone beyond HIV to offer maternal and child health and clean water and sanitation.  On an even broader scale, since 2008 Chevron has supported Global Fund with $60m. James identified a range of challenges including implementing testing in rural China where policy, legal and stigma barriers persist.

Martin Pun from the Myanmar Business Coalition on AIDS started with an explanation of the unique history of Myanmar. The first challenge was to get the Myanmar government to admit there was a HIV problem – in 2001 this happened with the minister stating HIV was the second biggest health issue in the country, this then triggered a stream of support. The second challenge was to find a way to get the HIV message to the people when, under military rule as was the case until 2 years ago, there could not be more than 5 people gathered together without a permit. The solution was through the workplace, where people can legitimately gather and share information. 

Martin powerfully described how now HIV is part of the daily language, but importantly, the breadwinner talks about it. Having the breadwinner talk about it makes it acceptable in families and in a culture where breadwinners are the leaders. Connected to this is the appreciation that the solution must be local - delivery is at the local level, where local people are well connected.

The following describes the key elements of the panel and audience discussion.

Private sector needs to:

  • -       start with local – based on where they are and what they are doing, it needs to be within their reach
  • -       start by focusing on a certain area/service
  • -       be forward thinking on how to have impactful and lasting change for these communities

Then, once direct employee issues have been dealt with, what does it take to go outside the ‘fence’? Responses from the panel included consideration of the longevity of the project, helping yourself and helping the community. 

There is a role for development partners in this, government may not have the capacity to do the long term thinking that is required and the company is busy trying to get the mine up and running, so the development partners can help government plan for benefit flows back to the community. Development partners can play a catalytic role, working with industry to come up with idea, test them and share the results with government so they can see how effective they are and if they can be scaled up.

Ben David, AusAID, provided the figures that 70-80% of health services in Asia are delivered by the private sector, so it is a reality that we work with private health providers.

Jane responded to a question on how to draw in new private sector players with ‘do some modelling and demonstrate the risk’. An audience member working with Abt explained that in Viet Nam companies receive tax incentives depending on proportion of people they employ with HIV and other affected populations. Jane noted companies in PNG cannot require an HIV test as part of employment. And Martin explained in Myanmar they have stayed away from tax incentives that as want to make being HIV+ as ‘normal’ as possible and so not to focus on it.

The discussion concluded with the CEO of APBC, Stephen Grant, explaining the focus is HIV, but we are now looking more generally at MDGs and expect some change over the few years. As we know there is still a big job to do on HIV, and there is no more money, so now need to spend that money more effectively.


    The organizers reserve the right to amend the programme.