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12.04.2004 Regional News

ICEM calls for support against HIV/AIDS

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Accra, April 12, GNA- Mining, energy and oil companies in sub Saharan Africa have been called to join in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and support the provision of clinics and trained medical staff at all major workplaces.

The call was made at the end of a three-day international conference for 34 senior African Trade Unionists, organised by the International Federation of Chemical, Energy and General Workers Unions (ICEM), that ended recently in J0ohannesburg, South Africa.

A note from the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the conference, attended by 10 African nations, introduced a trade union structure to combat HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ghana's delegation to the conference was made up of Mr Prince William Ankrah Acting General Secretary of the Ghana Mineworkers Union, Mrs Vida Brewu National Women's Co-ordinator, and Mr Gilbert Awinogua Deputy General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU). At the end of the conference, it was agreed that affiliate unions of the ICEM body, with 121-member countries would designate a union leader to serve as an ICEM National Co-ordinator of HID/AIDS.

The note said ICEM has been engaged in a dialogue with the major pharmaceutical companies to provide drug therapies at little or no cost to persons living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world.

The Secretary General of ICEM, Fred Higgs said the conference succeeded in coming out with an initiative to overcome the deficit in health care infrastructure.

He added that ICEM was determined to continue its collaboration with some global mining concerns in creating awareness on the pandemic.