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Old 11-08-2004, 05:06 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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HIV/AIDS in the Workplace - Address by British High Commissioner

The British High Commissioner to PNG, H.E. Mr David Gordon-Macleod challenged Port Moresby business leaders to disseminate information and employ best practice on HIV/AIDS in the workplace.

Mr Gordon-Macleodsí extensive knowledge of the AIDS epidemic and itís effects in particular on business, in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa set the scene for the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce hosted breakfast presentation at the Holiday Inn, on Friday 30th July, 2004. Over 60 businessmen and women attended.

Mr Gordon-Macleod appealed for long term vision and leadership on the HIV/AIDS issue from business and political leaders, who he says have a responsibility immediately to consider and address the working environments of potential sufferers, those already living with HIV/AIDS and their families. He suggested that the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce produce a Charter of Principles and best practice, drawing on a South African experience especially in the key revenue-generating sector of mining.

The High Commissioner noted the significance of awareness, and highlighted the need for improved dissemination of knowledge to employers and employees of the experience of the pandemic felt by other countries, with similar social and economic situation to that of PNG. He warned businesses to inform employees about the role of drugs, alcohol and domestic violence against women, in the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The availability of condoms in the workplace combined with anti-discrimination rules as a corporate means of desensitising the issue were raised, with equal significance placed on employer confidentiality.

Mr Gordon Macleod spoke boldly of the need for appropriate counselling for employees that suspect they might be HIV positive.

Drawing on best practice in the mining sector, the High Commissioner urged businesses to consider promoting voluntary HIV testing of their workers. This would require assurances that any employee, testing positive would not lose his or her job, and would receive appropriate future health care, including Anti-Retroviral-Therapy (ART). In the event of enforced retirement on health grounds, provision of employment to another family member needed consideration.

In conclusion Mr Gordon-Macleod asked employers to take responsibility when formulating employment contracts, taking into account rapid infection rates and new PNG government legislation protecting the rights of individuals. The more business leaders did now the better it would be for business in the long term, and the more effective would be businessís contribution to the national fight against HIV/AIDS .

ends

British High Commissioner David Gordon Macleod (left)with Post Courier Reporter Malum Nalu at a dinner meeting and the Deputy High Commissioner
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Last edited by ***aCe***; 11-08-2004 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 11-08-2004, 05:53 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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BUSINESS AND HIV/AIDS


Chambers of Commerce have a responsibility to disseminate to their respective members, best practice on HIV/AIDS in the workplace. This could be done through a Charter of Principles and best practice, drawing on South African business experience. But every business, however small, has a responsibility:
  • [To educate its employees about HIV/AIDS;
  • To inform employees about HIV/AIDS related Legislation, eg. the 2003 Act making it a manslaughter offence for an HIV positive person to knowingly infect another;
  • To inform/educate employees about the role of violence, especially against women, in the spread of HIV/AIDS and ensure that female employees are properly informed about their rights under the law;
  • To make available condoms to employees;
  • To inform employees about the role of alcohol/drugs in the spread of HIV/AIDS;
  • To ensure equal conditions of service for both male and female employees, and to educate them on the importance of wider equality between men and women;
  • To provide appropriate counselling (either within the business, or for small businesses outside, eg. through NACS or StopAIDS) for any employees that suspect they might be HIV positive;
  • To ensure appropriate rules and practice of confidentiality;
  • To consider (possibly drawing on best practice in the mining sector) how to promote voluntary HIV testing;
  • To draw up clear rules on (non-discriminatory) treatment of HIV positive employees in the workplace;
  • To ensure that company personnel policy has clear guidelines for managing HIV positive employees, especially whey they develop full-blown AIDS. This will need to cover fundamental points, eg. Will the business meet the cost of ART? If so, will it do so for life? Will the spouse, if infected, also be covered? If the employee dies from AIDS what settlement will apply to the spouse and children?
  • To assess whether company employee insurance needs appropriate revision to take account of the future impact on the HIV/AIDS crisis;
  • To develop comprehensive long-term personnel guidelines i.e. for ten years hence, when the current epidemic has become a pandemic. These guidelines will need to deal with a range of issues, eg. time off to help care for sick relatives, or to attend funerals; company health insurance; recruitment policy etc.
  • To ensure that future employee contracts conform with relevant laws, and incorporate as necessary, clauses defining health related conditions, including HIV/AIDS.
A successful HIV/AIDS policy and programme requires co-operation, trust and dialogue between employers, staff and governments.

Friday 30 July 2004
Presentation to Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry by HE David Gordon-Macleod, British High Commissioner

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