2005: HIV/Aids Tool Kits Flop in S.Africa

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[I can guess as to why they are flopping. South African businesses are struggling to make ends meet, and are under so much socialist and racial legislation and taxes that they don’t have time to worry about whether their Black workers are HIV(43)+ – they know the answer already, intuitively! Jan]

Despite a glowing report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) on SA’s workplace HIV/AIDS programmes, executives from some of the country’s top companies last week conceded that there was often a disappointing response to their initiatives against the disease.

A WEF survey of 1552 companies in 19 sub-Saharan Africa countries found South African firms led the way in developing HIV/AIDS policies.

But Uniliver’s corporate affairs director, Edmund Hall, told delegates attending the WEF Africa Economic Summit in Cape Town that few entrepreneurs had bought the widely publicised HIV/AIDS “tool kits” developed by Uniliver and the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS to help small businesses.

The kits cost R1000, and give managers all the components they need to put a basic workplace HIV/AIDS programme in place without external consultants. They are endorsed by the WEF, the International Labour Organisation and the Global Business HIV/AIDS Coalition.

The kits were launched in SA a year ago and so far “sales were poor”, said Hall. There were an estimated 400000 small businesses in SA, yet only “a couple of thousand” kits had been sold.

It has previously been reported that mining giants AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American had found a slow response to their offer of free AIDS drugs.

Delegates suggested that workers feared discrimination, and were confused about the benefits of antiretroviral medicines.

Fatima Hassan, an attorney with the Aids Law Project and a member of the Treatment Action Campaign lobby group, urged the private sector to do more to counter government’s “ambiguous” messages on HIV/AIDS.

“The silence of the private sector is not helpful,” she said. “It’s very hard to have effective public sector (and workplace) HIV/AIDS programmes in a country where at the highest level of political leadership there is still denial.”

Delegates also discussed ways to expand workplace programmes into neighbouring communities, and to bring other companies in their supply chain.

Hall suggested that large companies include workplace HIV/AIDS programmes in their tender requirements.

Source: AllAfrica.Com
URL: http://allafrica.com/stories/200506060122.htm
Source: https://archive.africancrisis.info/?p=105452

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