Ten entities already on board HIV and the workplace programme
Stabroek News
February 28, 2004

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HIV in the workplace is to be further targeted under a US-funded education programme launched on Thursday at Hotel Tower and ten entities are already on board.

The US Department of Labour (USDL) US$308,622 has funded the "HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Pro-gramme" which began in October and will be using resource materials from countries such as India, as well as material produced in Guyana. The programme will involve training a core group of workers at public and private entities who will pass this information on to colleagues.

Ten companies have committed to being a part of the programme and a larger number is expected as the outreach continues with the support of the various chambers of commerce.

National Project Co-ordinator Sean Wilson noted that the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the Tripartite Constituents, the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security and workers and employers organisations, realise more can be done to develop policies and prevention programmes.

The goals of the program-me, Wilson said, are to: develop policies and programmes for prevention of HIV/AIDS in the workplace; to implement HIV/AIDS education programmes; and to develop a sustainable national plan for the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the world of work.

Among the agencies pledging their support are the Guyana Post Office Corpora-tion, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, Guyana Power and Light, the Guyana Revenue Authority, Demerara Distillers Limited, the National Bank of Industry and Commerce, the Bank of Nova Scotia, Guyana Water Incorporated and Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel.

The Minister of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, Dr Dale Bisnauth noted that the programme was an initiative of the National Tripartite Committee funded by the USDL and facilitated by the ILO. He believes that the programme is workable, sustainable and looks at effecting behavioural chang-es.

US Ambassador to Guy-ana, Roland Bullen warned of the threat HIV/AIDS posed to the workplace and urged all businesses to get on board to support the efforts of government and non-government institutions.

Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress told the gathering that trade unions were the most effective means of reaching workers.