TBCA’s initiative to develop a comprehensive sexual health program for female employees in the establishments arose from the worrisome fact that since 2008 breast and cervical cancer have been reported women’s first and second most common cancer, respectively. Sadly, most of the patients with these two cancers are the working-age population.

 

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“It’s not practical to let employees from the production line attend all days activities.”

“This year, it’s not convenient to hold such activities. Next year, perhaps. We’ll see.”

“Free? If not, I won’t do it.”

“I’ve been looking forward to doing this for so long. I’ve called the public health offices but they were not available. Our action plan doesn’t match theirs.”

 

Among many other replies, the above are some responses that Thailand Business Coalition on AIDS (TBCA) has received from enterprises that were contacted and convinced to cooperate in developing sexual health programmes for Thai women workers in Bangkok.

TBCA’s initiative to develop a comprehensive sexual health program for female employees in the establishments arose from the worrisome fact that since 2008 breast and cervical cancer have been reported women’s first and second most common cancer, respectively. Sadly, most of the patients with these two cancers are the working-age population.

However, as TBCA is also a private enterprise, the association shall always remember that the ultimate goal of the business sector is to make profits. Therefore, knocking on their doors to persuade their executives to participate in sexual health development activities for their employees requires some incentives for them to realize the programme significance. In addition, the activity formats must be concise and measurable.

The project on the development of sexual health programmes for female employees in the establishments in Bangkok Metropolitan initially started off in 3 pilot companies, including Siam Cement Public Co., Ltd., CPF (Thailand) Public Co., Ltd., Nongchok Branch, and Landmark Hotel. The participants were considered representing office employees, factory workers and hotel staff, respectively. There were three main procedures:

  1. Developing participatory training modules: To promote understanding and awareness of breast cancer and cervical cancer screening and blood test for HIV infection, voluntarily.
  2. Creating a normal attitude towards routine health screening among female employees: By arranging mobile health check-up service, including breast cancer and cervical cancer screening in establishments, free of charge.
  3. Compiling a self-learning booklet: To provide autonomous learning material titled “Women’s Health: Tips for staff and employers in the workplace” for employees

The feedbacks received after TBCA had completed the works in the pilot companies were positive. For example, one company extended the mobile health check-up activity in screening for breast cancer and cervical cancer to its other three factories in the proximity, by coordinating with the local healthcare center by itself.

In terms of the participants’ points of view, they had a better understanding about sexual health, a reduced fear of pelvic examination, and a greater care of their own sexual health. These reflections were heard during conversations with TBCA staff.

“If the screening unit weren’t here, I wouldn’t have had this chance. I’d have lost my paid leave of absence. Not to mention commuting to the healthcare center.”

“Today’s lesson is like opening up my head. Like female condoms, I’ve never seen them before. I’m so grateful to the speaker team today. Thank you very much.”

TBCA, as a business coalition organization, will continue to move forward in raising the awareness of employees and entrepreneurs about health promotion, and later expanding to cover the neighboring communities. In addition, TBCA will strive for channels to increase the roles in connecting and building relationships of business and government sectors, as well as national and international organizations. These are TBCA’s missions to promote better sexual health and well-being of employees in the workplaces in Thailand.

 

By Wasurat Homsud

Thailand Business Coalition on AIDS, Bangkok

 

 

Note:

UNFPA Thailand Country Office presses priority on youth leadership in demanding their sexual and reproductive health and rights to be protected and their accessibility to such services with special focus on the problem of teenage pregnancy. In 2014, UNFPA has awarded the grants to 15 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The purpose of these grants is for capacity development activities that will enable the CSOs to function as the supporter of future youth-led initiatives on the prevention of teenage pregnancy and/or the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. This initiative will help UNFPA in achieving its Expected Country Programme Output 2 “Enhanced policies and mechanisms to increase the utilization of sexual and reproductive health and HIV services by young people and the most vulnerable populations.”

 

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