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11.03.2005 Regional News

Mobil launches HIV/AIDS workplace programme

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Accra, March 11, GNA - Mobil Ghana Limited on Friday launched an HIV/AIDS workplace education programme aimed at assisting workers to make right choices and live healthy lives.

The eight-month education programme would include HIV/AIDS self-study guide, Voluntary, Counselling and Testing (VCT) and positive living.

Mr Sam Kareem, Managing Director, Mobil Ghana Limited, said the educative programme was necessitated by the devastating effect HIV/AIDS had brought on the productive workforce. "As a business with operations across the country we are concerned about the potential effect of the disease on (the) workforce, families and communities as well as the economic areas within our operational regions."

He said the Stop AIDS Programme would help employees and their families to understand how to protect themselves from being infected. Mr Kareem noted that Mobil Ghana Limited was committed to encouraging a climate of trust, care and honesty, saying this would make employees more comfortable to talk about AIDS both at work and in their communities.

It would also focus effectively on reducing stigmatisation and the shame often associated with the disease; facilitate communication and eventually help in curbing the spread of the pandemic. Mr Eric Pwadura, Communication Director, Ghana AIDS Commission, noted that the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS on socio-economic development could not be overemphasized particularly in the area of population growth and human resource development. He said industries and public sector institutions in Africa were experiencing skyrocketing health bills, increased absenteeism and reduction in productivity due to ill health arising from infection and subsequent deaths.

"It has been projected that in some countries the public services will lose up to 50 per cent of their current workforce over five to 10 years with consequential loss of skills and industrial knowledge." Mr Pwadura suggested that in view of the enormous challenges posed by HIV/AIDS to socio-economic development, all organisations should put up workplace polices as part of the national response to the pandemic. 11 March 05

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