Nestle Ghana Limited has launched a reviewed version of its HIV/AIDS workplace policy programme aimed at protecting any employee with HIV/AIDS from stigmatisation and discrimination at the workplace.

The document, which was first launched in 2003, is also expected to create awareness and promote continuous education on HIV/AIDS among Nestlé’s stakeholders.

Launching the document, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Samer Chedid, said the policy was Nestlé’s commitment to ensure that its employees and other ‘stakeholders were well educated on the effect of the pandemic on productivity.

He urged the employees to be committed to what had been spe1t out in the document in order to achieve its objectives.

The Programme Director of the Ghana Business Coalition, Dr Derek Aryee said the country had been recording a reduction in the percentage of the number of people infected with the disease.

“We cannot be complacent about it spreading to the general population from the high-risk groups. If the situation is left unchecked, the epidemic has the ability to damage the economy and leave an impact which will take years to reverse”.
He said the epidemic was eroding productivity just at a time that developing countries needed to become more competitive to cope with rapid globalization.

“The challenge is to translate prevention knowledge into safe practices, especially among vulnerable groups,” he said, adding that “it is not enough to have an HIV/AIDS policy; it is essential to have a strategic plan for sustaining growth and productivity in the face of the pandemic”.

“Let us empower the vulnerable, entrust actors with tools to act and exploit every opportunity within our collective reach. Let us mount strong programmes of prevention, care, treatment and support them in full,” Dr Aryee stated.

The acting Director of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Angela El-Adad, added her voice to the need to avoid complacency among Ghanaians concerning the current prevalent rates because there were areas in the country that were recording 25 per cent in the prevalent rate.

He urged people to know and keep their status, saying” the most imp0rtant thing is to know and keep your status”.

She called for strict confidentiality concerning information gathered on the employees HIV/AIDS status in order to avoid discrimination and stigmatisation.

The Country Director of Family Health International, Dr Henry Nagai, for his part, advised the employees against discriminating against people living with the disease, saying “you have no moral right to judge anyone”.

Source: Daily Graphic