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10.11.2007 Health

Ghana Water Company Launches HIV/TB Workplace Policy

By ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)
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As part of effort to advance the welfare of workers beyond commonly known conditions of services, to seek their health and safety with regards to HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) the management of the Ghana Water Company Limited /Acqa Vitens Rend Limited have launched a HIV/TB Workplace Policy in Accra yesterday.

The policy which is under the theme 'Safe Water, Save Life know your HIV/TB status', seeks to educate, inform and communicate with staff and their families on issues related to their HIV status.

Speaking at the launch of the policy, the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface pointed out that in line with the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the labour law, 2003 (Act 651) and the International Labour organisation's code of practices, the GWCL/AVRL are oblige to respect the rights of all staff and the general public irrespective of their HIV/TB status.

According to him, HIV patients are protected against discrimination of all kinds and that 'no prejudicial or discriminatory attitude or behaviour towards people living with HIV/TB should be tolerated.' He stated that HIV/TB testing should not be required at the time of recruitment or as a condition of continued employment and asked management to be committed to policy.

The Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Prof Sakyi Awuku Amao in a key note address observed that the involvement of the Public and Private Sectors in the fight against HIV/ TB is very important because one of the most significant features of the epidemic is its concentration in the working age population with greater proportion of infection among women.

He called on Public and Private Sectors as well as corporate organisations to institute workplace policies and interventions in order to address the complex ramifications of the epidemic and was hopeful that management and staff would take the project seriously in order to protect the human resource base of the company.

In a statement, the German Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Dr Marius Haas, commended the GWCL /AVRL on their decision for such a policy and was grateful to GTZ, Ghana AIDS Commission and the National TB Control Programme for their prompt response in relation to the design and the implementation of the programme.

He was also hopefully that 20 years from now the fight against HIV/TB would be considered a thing of the past and call on all parties to work towards this realisation.

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