Pharm Access Africa Limited (PAAL) was selected by Aureos Capital to start and implement an HIV/AIDS workplace program with a group of companies in East Africa.
The Program was launched at the Holiday Inn in Nairobi on June 19th 2008
Representatives including MD’s and CEO’s of the group’s investee companies were briefed on the program.
Data from companies that had already put in place the HIV/AIDS at the workplace program was presented illustrating benefits outweigh the costs.
A Workshop for HR managers from these companies was then held in Mombasa between 9th and 12th July 2008 in order to synergize representatives of the companies on the importance of the program
- HIV/AIDS affects workers at all levels.
- HIV does not discriminate against age, gender, race, social, educational/academic levels, professional status, etc.
Why should employers care about HIV/AIDS?
Data from a number of Sub-Saharan countries, including Kenya, with intermediate high prevalence rates show that:
- HIV/AIDS increases employer costs & reduces profits
- Productivity is negatively affected
- Recruitment & training costs increase
- General costs of doing business increase
- The client/consumer base gets eroded
- Workers fear or misconceptions about HIV/AIDS can cause work stoppages or slowdowns
The impact goes beyond individual employers, affecting the entire economy & society.
HIV/AIDS affects adults most often at the peak of their productive working years, from ages 15 to 49.
Workplaces as the Key for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care
In 2002, The International Labor Organization estimated that…
Over 25 million working people were infected with HIV/AIDS
“Workplaces provide the key venue for initiating effective programmes of prevention and care relating to HIV/AIDS. Programmes to counter this deadly disease must involve workers, trade unions and employers in efforts to address the crisis through agreements and joint action. They must also provide social protection for workers and their families,”
(ICFTU General Secretary Bill Jordan.)
“A main focus must be placed on preventing the spread of HIV infection through information, education and support for behavior change.”
Programs can make a difference
- When companies offer care and treatment, the prevention messages are further enhanced.
- Care and support programs ensure that the employees go for voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) and make some informed decisions.
- Employers can help prevent new infections by educating the workforce and at the same time ensure that employees with HIV/AIDS remain productive.
- Persons infected with HIV may have no symptoms for several years, depending on a number of factors, including their overall health. For more than 50% of persons infected, AIDS develops in 10-12 years. With appropriate treatment, people with HIV/AIDS can live long, productive lives.
- Workplace policies and programs affect the organization and its workers however Workers families and the surrounding community benefit too.
- In many companies, employee recruitment, training, and other costs have been reduced by investment in HIV/AIDS programs
Basic Principles for an HIV/AIDS Program
- Offers a framework for consistent practice in a workplace
- Expresses the standards of behavior expected of all employees, with specific attention to preventing stigma and discrimination
- Lets all employees know what assistance is available to them and their families ,and where to go for it
- Instructs supervisors on how to manage HIV/AIDS in their work groups
- Ensures consistency with relevant local and national laws or regulations
- Sets a foundation for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support programs
- Promises confidentiality of information about employees
- Specifies any requirements that may be placed on suppliers and/or contractors to provide HIV/AIDS programs and/or protection to their employees.