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12.06.2007 Health

Give legal framework to AIDS related issues

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The government has been urged to come out with a legislation that would provide the necessary legal framework for addressing HIV/AIDS related issues instead of leaving such issues to be determined by the general law, a CHRAJ official has said.

Mr. Joseph Whittal, Upper East Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) said government, being the largest employer should, particularly introduce without delay a policy as well as an action plan on workplace HIV/AIDS, to set the tone for other employers in the private sector to follow suit.

Mr. Whittal was speaking on the topic; "Rights and responsibilities of employers, employees and students affected and infected with AIDS" at a symposium held by students of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic in Sumbrungu as part of activities marking their SRC week celebration.

He said even though in Ghana a lot had been done over the years to raise the awareness of the citizenry about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the focus had not yet been extended to the workplace.

"It ought to be known for instance, statistics on the effects of the pandemic on productivity in Ghana; how much of the profits of businesses are being channelled into AIDS related programmes at the workplace in terms of treatment, care or education; and statistics on affected widows/widowers and orphans who have had to abandon their education due to the loss of the breadwinner to AIDS.”

He indicated that so long as AIDS posed a threat to productivity and profitability of employers, the welfare of employees and their families, as well as the capability of students to concentrate on studies, there was the need for the implementation of policies that would reverse the trend, and cited South Africa, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania as countries where such policies were already in place.

Source: GNA

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