13 August, 2013: A two-day national tripartite workshop on the validation of the draft National Policy on HIV/AIDS at the workplace opened this morning at La Plantation Hotel, Balaclava. The policy will serve towards the adoption of an action plan to develop policies so as to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS at the workplace.
This workshop is a follow-up of a tripartite workshop on the HIV and AIDS Recommendation, 2010 (N0. 200) held in March this year in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The concrete proposals and recommendations have thereon been incorporated in the draft National Policy on HIV/AIDS at the workplace.
Salient features of the ILO Code of Practice on HIV and AIDS at the Workplace and the ILO Recommendation 200 concerning HIV/AIDS and the World of Work have also been included in the document.
The validation workshop is being attended by representatives of the Government, employers, workers and non-governmental organisations in a bid to examine and finalise the draft National Policy. It is also serving as platform for them to discuss on the various policies, strategies and actions to respond to HIV/AIDS.
In his opening address, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Hon. Shakeel Mohamed, emphasised the new challenges associated with HIV/AIDS epidemic particularly that of stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. According to him, more efforts are required on behalf of one and all to eliminate the stigma and discrimination on the basis of real or perceived HIV status.
Minister Mohamed further pointed out that the aspect of creating awareness on the HIV/AIDS epidemic should not be limited to workers only but to school children as well, for according to him they are the future of the country and they should be aware of the preventive measures at an early age, he added.
According to the ILO, HIV/AIDS epidemic is recognised as a global crisis impacting negatively on the world productivity. Based on ILO figures, nine out of ten persons of the working group age are affected by the disease which poses a serious threat to societies’ ability to meet the development challenges. In the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations, the fight against HIV/AIDS has been set as the sixth goal.
On the local front, HIV/AIDS has been placed at the core of our health agenda and Government has also endorsed several resolutions and commitments to mitigate its impact.