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Regional News Fri, 19 Dec 2003

Workplace Policy to respond to HIV/AIDS before the tripartite committee

Accra, Dec. 19, GNA - Professor Sakyi Amoa, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, on Friday said a workplace policy to respond to HIV/AIDS issues had been presented to the Tripartite Committee for comments and approval.
The policy, presented to the committee in April this year, has a primary focus on the elimination of stigma and discrimination, the gender dimensions and prevention-care by providing information on access to drugs, care and support among others.
Prof Amoa announced this at the opening of a two-day International Labour Organisation (ILO)/United States Development of Labour (USDOL) HIV/AIDS stakeholders workshop and the launch of the HIV/AIDS work place education programme, in Accra.
He said under the policy, an organization cannot demand for an HIV/AIDS test before employing anyone and cannot dismiss an employee if detected to be an HIV/AIDS infected person.
It would also address the issue of care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS at the workplace.
Prof Amoa explained that even though employers cannot be forced to adhere to the policy, "legal action would be taken against whoever found going contrary to the guidelines of the policy".
He said though awareness had been created, behaviour cannot be changed overnight and "we would not stop talking about HIV/AIDS until we change our sexual behaviour," he said.
Prof Amoa said other countries like Uganda had made improvement from 30 percent to nine per cent and "with seriousness, we can also make it".
He called on institutions and organisations to ensure that there was a policy to protect people living with HIV/AIDS at the workplace. Mr Yaw Barimah, Minister of Manpower Development and Employment, in a speech read on his behalf said HIV/AIDS posed a serious threat to the nation's development, adding that, the government would endeavour to combat the pandemic.
He said out of about 500,000 Ghanaians infected with the virus, majority were within the ages of 15-45 years, which formed the nation's work force.
"Even though the prevalence rate is in the single digit, we must admit that this could only be the tip of the iceberg". Mr Barimah said the menace, if not checked, would have a negative impact on productivity through increase bills for health, recruitment and training, insurance, loss of skilled labour and reduced productivity.
"We recognise that an unchecked epidemic could result in much higher prevalence with its attendant devastating effects, therefore we pledge our commitment in sustaining this laudable programme". 19 Dec 03

Accra, Dec. 19, GNA - Professor Sakyi Amoa, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, on Friday said a workplace policy to respond to HIV/AIDS issues had been presented to the Tripartite Committee for comments and approval.
The policy, presented to the committee in April this year, has a primary focus on the elimination of stigma and discrimination, the gender dimensions and prevention-care by providing information on access to drugs, care and support among others.
Prof Amoa announced this at the opening of a two-day International Labour Organisation (ILO)/United States Development of Labour (USDOL) HIV/AIDS stakeholders workshop and the launch of the HIV/AIDS work place education programme, in Accra.
He said under the policy, an organization cannot demand for an HIV/AIDS test before employing anyone and cannot dismiss an employee if detected to be an HIV/AIDS infected person.
It would also address the issue of care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS at the workplace.
Prof Amoa explained that even though employers cannot be forced to adhere to the policy, "legal action would be taken against whoever found going contrary to the guidelines of the policy".
He said though awareness had been created, behaviour cannot be changed overnight and "we would not stop talking about HIV/AIDS until we change our sexual behaviour," he said.
Prof Amoa said other countries like Uganda had made improvement from 30 percent to nine per cent and "with seriousness, we can also make it".
He called on institutions and organisations to ensure that there was a policy to protect people living with HIV/AIDS at the workplace. Mr Yaw Barimah, Minister of Manpower Development and Employment, in a speech read on his behalf said HIV/AIDS posed a serious threat to the nation's development, adding that, the government would endeavour to combat the pandemic.
He said out of about 500,000 Ghanaians infected with the virus, majority were within the ages of 15-45 years, which formed the nation's work force.
"Even though the prevalence rate is in the single digit, we must admit that this could only be the tip of the iceberg". Mr Barimah said the menace, if not checked, would have a negative impact on productivity through increase bills for health, recruitment and training, insurance, loss of skilled labour and reduced productivity.
"We recognise that an unchecked epidemic could result in much higher prevalence with its attendant devastating effects, therefore we pledge our commitment in sustaining this laudable programme". 19 Dec 03

Source: GNA