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General News of Monday, 16 August 2021

Source: GNA

Companies must develop workplace HIV/TB policy – Dr Ayisi Addo

This will ensure the proper handling of workers living with the disease This will ensure the proper handling of workers living with the disease

Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager, National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP) has called on employers to formulate a workplace HIV/TB policy to guide the management and proper handling of workers living with the disease.

Dr Ayisi Addo said it was important to have a workplace policy as HIV is a workplace issue, which affects people who come to work, adding that one can even contract it at the workplace.

The workplace, he said, was a place for interaction, social intercourse, and in the process, there is physical contact and, therefore, communicable diseases, like COVID-19 and HIV could occur, adding, “HIV is created at the workplace and it must therefore be managed in the workplace,” he stressed.

Dr Ayisi Addo stated at the fifth, “GNA-Tema Stakeholder Engagement and Workers’ Appreciation Day,” seminar at the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency, which is a progressive media caucus platform created to give the opportunity to state and non-state actors to interact with journalists and address national issues.

The event also serves as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters to the professional growth and promotion of the GNA Tema Regional Branch as the industrial news hub, while contributing to national development.

Dr Ayisi Addo said the aim of a workplace policy for HIV and TB was to ensure that any employee who contract the disease, could still work, manage it and be productive as the disease could affect their output and in effect impact on the economy if not manage.

He indicated that a good HIV/AIDS policy needed the cooperation and trust of employers, workers, and governments through social dialogue, adding that there must be no HIV screening for purposes of employment.

“Testing for HIV at the workplace should be voluntary and confidential, and never be used to screen job applicants or employees,” he said.

He noted that existing ILO instruments on confidentiality must be applied in respect of revealing personal data, which included a worker’s HIV status.

Workers with HIV-related illnesses, he said should be able to work as long as they are medically fit as they are entitled to affordable health services, statutory and occupational schemes.

Dr Ayisi Addo called for a consented effort in handling HIV/AIDS in the country and at workplaces saying the social partners were in a unique position to promote prevention efforts through information, education, and support for behavior change.

Mr Francis Ameyibor, GNA Tema Regional Manager said knowledge and information on the virus are essential to preventing it, hence, the GNA joining forces with the NACP to educate the public.

He said: “knowing your HIV status is key. Only when people know their status that they can respond appropriately through reducing risky behaviour and practice safe sex”.

Mr Ameyibor said: “Such changes will require community based behavioural transformative approaches and models, user friendly and effective health services where human rights are safeguarded for all, as well as strong leadership at all levels”.

Other speakers: Mr Fred Asiedu-Dartey, GSA Head of Freight and Logistics who spoke on: “Emerging trends in Ghana’s maritime industry – the perspective of the Ghana Shippers Authority”.

Mr Timothy Anyidoho, Senior Staff, Lands Commission and Mr George Okwabi Frimpong, a senior member of the License Surveyors Association of Ghana spoke on: “the authority in charge of the management of stool or skin, clan or family lands; the role of Customary Land Secretariat; Systems of recording and registering land and interests in land; What is electronic conveyancing; and Procedures under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 201” respectively.

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