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SVEF promoting HIV/AIDS Policy

SVEF promoting HIV/AIDS Policy

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The St. Vincent Employers’ Federation (SVEF) is promoting a project which has as its objective the development and implementation of an HIV/AIDS Policy and a Management System for the workplace. A workshop was held in aid of this at the Chamber of Commerce Conference Room on Tuesday.{{more}}

Funded by the SVG HIV/AIDS Prevention Control Project, this initiative is expected to last five months, from January to May 2008. It aims to inform and educate employees about HIV/AIDS and its impact on their productive lives. It also aims to reduce levels of stigma and discrimination by implementing a policy and management system.

In emphasizing the importance of this project, SVEF President Noel Dickson stated that “We source our employees from a society that is afflicted, very much so, with HIV/AIDS… As responsible employers, we are obligated to effectively manage these situations.”

Ministry of Labour Representative Bernadine Dublin voiced concern that many would not see the need for workplace policy, as the number of infected persons in SVG is relatively small. She pointed out that Africa was at this stage about two decades ago. In order to prevent our HIV/AIDS situation from escalating as it has done in Africa, we need to nip things in the bud, she said. “Experts tell us that preventative healthcare is cheaper and more effective than curative healthcare,” she continued.

Project Coordinator Salim October cited that the Caribbean ranks second in the world in terms of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. With the advent of the CSME, there will be an increase in migration of persons seeking employment, he said. October suggested that this would contribute to “…the heightening of the epidemic in the region.” In an effort to counteract this, member organizations need to present a united front.

Dublin asserted that, “It takes a national effort to ensure that HIV/AIDS does not become a major developmental issue in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”. (JSV)

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