Absa launches HIV-testing drive

first_imgHealth Minister Aaron Motsoaledi takes anHIV test to set example. From left, Motsoaledi, Absa CEO MariaRamos and City of Joburg’s health MMCNonceba Molwele launching the campaign.(Images: City of Johannesburg)MEDIA CONTACTS• Fidel HadebeSpokespersonDepartment of Health+27 12 395 8493 +27 79 517 3333Bongani NkosiThe government’s drive to test 15-million South Africans for HIV has received a boost from Absa bank’s new campaign, which is targeting 80% of its 35 000 employees in branches across the country.Absa’s new HIV Counselling and Testing and Disease Management campaign – unveiled at its headquarters in downtown Johannesburg on 20 July 2011 – was applauded by Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who addressed the launch.Besides promoting regular voluntary testing, the bank introduced the campaign to raise awareness about healthy living for employees who may test positive and for those who have already been diagnosed.The bank hopes the campaign will help them deal better with issues such as long-term absenteeism by staff living with HIV and discrimination against those who disclose their status.The campaign ties in with the virus’s “well-known” impact on companies, CEO Maria Ramos said. In reducing productivity in the workplace, HIV prevalence “has a negative impact on our country’s economic competitiveness”, she added.HIV/Aids is to blame for 30% of absenteeism in the workplace in South Africa, while tuberculosis, which is also a leading health problem in South Africa, accounts for 3.7%, according to Motsoaledi.Ramos said they want to reduce absenteeism, while also setting up support systems for employees. “As a responsible employer, the wellness of our people and their families is crucial,” she said.Voluntary testing at Absa’s 900 branches is expected to start in earnest by September when staff training on HIV/Aids concludes.Some executives and employees set the standard by getting tested at the launch. “I’ll be happy if you know that testing is not a once-off thing, you must do it every year,” Motsoaledi told Absa employees before entering the booth for his fifth test in 2011.Motsoaledi decried the fact that while the country makes up 0.7% of the world’s population, it accounts for as much as 17% of the total global HIV prevalence.More than 5-million South Africans are estimated to be living with HIV. “This is a serious crisis that we are facing as a country,” Motsoaledi said.The minister’s backing of the massive testing drive falls in line with his department’s HIV counselling and testing policy. The government believes that broad prevention can be achieved if more citizens know their status.“We have to join hands with the government to combat the disease,” Ramos said.Knowing your status is keyNewspaper columnist Lucky Mazibuko, who’s been living with HIV for more than 20 years, spoke of the importance of knowing one’s status at the Absa launch.The main reason he and other well-known HIV/Aids activists such as Constitutional Court judge Edwin Cameron, Treatment Action Campaign icon Zackie Achmat and Martin Vosloo have survived for so many years with the virus was because “we discovered our status as early as possible”, Mazibuko said.“It has become common knowledge that one can live with HIV productively, successfully and meaningfully,” the columnist added.“The virus prevails when ignorance is bliss,” but it “becomes disempowered” when people gain more knowledge about it.”Mazibuko also tested at the Absa launch. “Despite knowing my status, I will continue to lead by example,” he said. “It’s important that people living with HIV become agents of change.”He said his viral load was undetectable and his CD4 count was well over 500, and he largely attributes this to a healthy lifestyle.Plea to menAt least 13-million South Africans have tested for HIV since the government launched its testing campaign in April 2010.Sixty-five percent of those who’ve tested are women, and only 30% are men. It’s against this backdrop that Motsoaledi made an impassionate plea to South African men to get tested in numbers.“Please stand up, your country is burning. We can’t have this battle being carried by women alone,” Motsoaledi said.Absa’s executive Happy Ntshingila urged the bank’s male employees to lead the way in testing. “Men do not want to test. I challenge my (male) colleagues to do it today.”Other efforts to stem the tide of the pandemic include male circumcision, which is clinically proven to decrease chances of infection. The practice is becoming more and more prevalent in South Africa.The government also distributes at least 1-billion male condoms and about 6-million female condoms each year as part of its prevention efforts.last_img read more

Farm Science Review takes place Sept. 17-19

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest WhatFarm Science Review 2019 offers the latest in farm technology and products.The three-day agricultural trade show offers educational talks and opportunities to speak one-on-one with experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), which sponsors the annual event at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London.Now in its 57th year, the event offers the most relevant and up-to-date information to farmers on topics ranging from crop diseases to soil health. Farmers can learn how to reduce input costs and increase their efficiency at a time when both are particularly crucial.In one location, growers can visit with many experts and see the newest innovations on the market. The event draws more than 100,000 people throughout three days. It features 4,000 product lines and over 700 commercial and educational exhibits, as well as workshops and presentations delivered by CFAES experts.Special guest Jolene Brown will speak Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. and Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. She addresses tough farm issues with grace and humor and is frequently hired to address farmers on a variety of topics, including stress and mental health.Ohio Farm Bureau at the ReviewBe sure to stop by the Ohio Farm Bureau building at the corner of Beef Street and Friday Avenue. Along with giving away apples to visitors, Farm Bureau staff will be on hand to answer questions about membership, Farm Bureau Health Benefits Plan, Energy Program, as well as policy initiatives and law changes at the state and federal level.Anyone who renews or purchases a membership at Farm Science Review will receive an official 12×12 metal “Ohio Farm Bureau member” sign, while supplies last.Make sure to enter the Ford F150 Truck Sweepstakes, the Ohio Farm Bureau Energy Program Sweepstakes (four $250 prizes), and the Rocky Brands boot giveaway.Event detailsThe Farm Science Review hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Sept 17–18 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19. Tickets for the event are $7 online and at Ohio State University Extension county offices and participating agribusinesses, or $10 at the gate. Children ages 5 and under are free.The Farm Science Review app, which will be available for both Apple and Android smartphone and tablet users, offers interactive maps, a schedule of events and general information about the show and exhibitors. It will be available by download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for “FSR 2019” or on the Farm Science Review website.last_img read more

3 Inspirational Videos to Grow Your Creative Business

first_imgGrow your creative business, negotiate better rates and learn something new – all with hand drawn illustrations.Illustrated videos, the ones where people draw along on fast forward to a lengthy voice over, are becoming increasingly popular. I first encountered them through the RSA a few years ago and still think they are the best execution of the idea that I’ve seen. Here are three great videos that should give you some inspirational ideas on how to grow your creative business and negotiate better deals!The Science of PersuasionWhat astounded me the most in this excellent look into the secrets of the Science of Persuasion was the huge returns that simply giving a mint made on the size of the tip.  The key to the idea of reciprocity is to ‘be the first to give in a personalised and unexpected way’.  A good example of this that I experienced myself was the free sweets that came in my order from Jigsaw24, when I ordered a harddrive from them. It was such an enjoyable surprise (though tiny expense for them) that I tweeted about it.  What would can you to surprise and delight your clients so much that they would keep coming back to you for more, or refer you to their friends?The Power of NetworksThe entire collection of RSAnimate videos represent a wealth of interesting information and this talk on the Power of Networks from Manuel Lima senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing is no exception. If after you watch this video you’re wondering: What does this have to do with growing my business? Then, I would ask – do you know what your network looks like?  Do you know who your best clients or customers are?  Do you know which ones give you the most work or the most valuable work?  Do you know which ones call you most frequently?Mapping out your network or creating a database of your clients not only makes it easier to pick up the phone and call your best ones in downtime, but also helps to show you who your best connectors are and where growth opportunities might lie.  It also lets you see who might benefit from an introduction to someone else you know.Design Like AppleOne Minute MBA has a growing collection of these short illustrated videos which are all worth a browse. This 2 minute video is packed with insights into the design philosophy that Apple uses when creating their category defining products. The point that struck me most was:Rule #2 – Every employee in a company must truly understand what the product they’re building is, how it works, and how it will benefit customers or society in order to get the design just right.I think so often we focus on the first two parts of this that we neglect the third.  Often with creative work we can be focusing on whether our part looks good (the design, the photography, the video, the music etc) and is working well (we’ve done a professional job) but fall short on adapting what we’re doing to ensure it benefits the client.I often hear directors grousing about having to ‘make it worse to make the client happier’, but the truth is if adding a line or a shot about a particular feature of the client’s product is what they feel will serve them best, then delivering that is the best way you can serve them. It’s crucial to keep asking yourself through the creative process if your end product is really going to best serve your clients needs.last_img read more

Tips For Attaching The Right Producer To Your Project

first_imgMany independent writers and directors today make the naive assumption that it’s going to be easy to find a producer that will get their film made. In reality a huge amount of filmmakers fail to bring their projects to life as a result of teaming up with the wrong producing partner.Attempting to produce your own film (if you are a writer/director) is typically a poor decision. Taking on too much work yourself, especially if you’re primarily a creatively minded person, will always lead you to spread yourself too thin…and let your project suffer. But simply deciding to team up with a producer isn’t enough. So often filmmakers will choose to partner up with a friend or close colleague simply out of convenience, and end up paying the ultimate price down the road when they realize that they should have put in the extra legwork to find the right person for the job.Assuming you already understand the huge importance of bringing a dedicated producer on board for your film, below are three huge tips that will help you find that perfect fit.1. Manage Your ExpectationsThere are two very common issues that I see all the time with independent filmmakers as they attempt to partner up with a producer – both of which are related to their expectations. On one end of the spectrum, you have the director that mistakenly assumes their best friend is going to be the ideal producer for their project, because they ‘get it’ and have a good personal relationship with them. And on the other side of the spectrum you have inexperienced directors that assume they will be able to attach an A-list (or name) producer, by virtue of the fact that they believe they have the perfect script.There is nothing wrong with wanting to partner up with a friend, or shooting for the stars with regards to approaching a renowned producer, but you need to manage your own expectations. If you are working with a friend, be very aware early on that it’s not going to be as easy as you think, and look out for potential red flags before it’s too late. If you want to go after a big name producer – by all means go for it. Just don’t be discouraged when they don’t get back to you, or tell you they don’t love your script. Never rush the process, and always be conscious of the reality of your position in the industry.2. Understand What Type of Producer You NeedMany writer/directors (especially first timers) don’t seem to understand the huge differences between various types of producers that are out there. Assuming you have been able to find a producer that satisfies the first point on this list (and is a good fit in terms of their ability and willingness to take part in your project), the next step is to identify how they fit into the context of the story you’re telling.You need to ask yourself important (but basic) questions, like: Does this producer actually make films that you too are interested in making? Fit is crucial. Why would you collaborate with someone who specializes in producing horror films if you write dramas?While we’re on the topic of genre, it’s worth making the point that you’re going to want to avoid producers who seem to constantly switch from one genre to the next. While there are some brilliant producers that are able to do this masterfully, the vast majority of producers on the lower level of the indie spectrum that take this approach simply are taking what they can get as a means to make a living. At the end of the day, you as an indie filmmaker will be best served by finding a producer that takes pride in their creative choices too, as opposed to one that is solely driven by money and just wants to pay the bills.3. Gauge Their PassionFinding a passionate producer is, in my opinion, the number one criteria when bringing someone on board with your project. Let’s face it, funds can be quite limited at the indie level and when money can’t talk, it’s passion and hard work that will fuel your project. It’s vital to the development of your script that you find a producer that isn’t motivated by money alone. Yes, you want a producer that understands the financial end of things (after all you want to make your budget back and then some, so you can actually make another movie), but there needs to be much more to the arrangement than that. This is especially true if you are looking for a producer that is going to be involved heavily in the creative process, as you want your producer to understand the bottom line while also understanding the importance of the creative.Final thoughtsForging a solid career for yourself in the film industry has just as much to do with the people that you surround yourself, as it does with your own skill set and knowledge of the craft. Arguably the most important person on your production is going to be your producing partner, so don’t make the mistake that so many directors make and skimp out in this department. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your story is or how skilled you are behind the camera, because if the backbone of your production isn’t there to pick you up when things fall apart (and they will), your project will never be a success.last_img read more

US Open: Tennis ace Vijay Amritraj son gets wild card entry

first_imgPrakash AmritrajThe name Amritraj did not figure only in the commentary team in the ongoing US Open. Prakash, 18, son of former tennis ace Vijay Amritraj, got a wild card entry after he won the US Tennis Association title for juniors last month.Prakash also teamed up with his cousin Stephen,,Prakash AmritrajThe name Amritraj did not figure only in the commentary team in the ongoing US Open. Prakash, 18, son of former tennis ace Vijay  Amritraj, got a wild card entry after he won the US Tennis Association title for juniors last month.Prakash also teamed up with his cousin Stephen, 17, Anand Amritraj’s son, for the doubles but lost in the first round, as he did in the singles.The doubles stalwarts, Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes, too figure in the draw, but with different partners. The fifth Indian name to figure in the fixtures is Rajeev Ram, an Indian-American like Prakash.Stephen AmritrajThe Indian connections are not just a formality. The next generation of Amritraj brothers want to play Davis Cup for India. In fact, at the ATP tournament in Los Angeles, they were wearing saffron and green socks.”I have always wanted to play for India,” says Prakash, who does not see his American citizenship as an obstacle. “The fact that my parents are from India makes me eligible.”Prakash’s antecedents have certainly helped his game. Father and coach Vijay was visible in the stands at the junior tournament in Michigan, shouting encouragements and rushing over with bottles of Pepsi and bananas during the breaks.But is it a legacy difficult to live up to? The chirpy undergraduate from University of Southern California doesn’t think so. “There is no negative pressure. Come on, who better than my dad to discuss my tennis with?”That’s certainly an ace up his sleeves.advertisementlast_img read more