HIV & AID at the Workplace

HIV/AIDS WORKPLACE PROGRAM

BACKGROUND

The Ministry of Labour is charged with the statutory mandate to coordinate employment issues, ensure workers’ protection and a safe and healthy work environment.  In 2003, the Ministry initiated as part of its mandates the establishment of the HIV and AIDS Workplace Program as a means of creating awareness and sensitization on prevention, treatment, care and support for the labor force in Liberia.

In an effort to ensuring that there is a functioning HIV and AIDS Workplace Program, the Ministry of Labour in collaboration with the National AIDS Commission (NAC), National AIDS Control Program (NACP), Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), Workers Union, employers union, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other stakeholders, developed the National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy to facilitate the establishment of Workplace policies and programs responses to HIV and AIDS and related opportunistic infections in all workplaces in the formal and informal sectors. This policy was formally launched on March 4, 2008 and has since been distributed to the Workforce of Liberia. Presently, the policy is undergoing a revision process.

Legal Framework

This policy is guided by the constitution of the Republic of Liberia and other relevant Liberian Labour Laws and policies. It is informed and guided by several international instruments to include standard and relevant conventions that provide the legal basis for the protection of Human and civil rights of working people. It is also informed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) code of practice on HIV and AIDS and the world of work which is based on the principles of Human rights, social justice and equality of all working persons and their families.

HIV and AIDS has ceased to be just a health issue. It is undoing many development gains made in recent decades. Unless we succeed in stopping the epidemic, countries could be left with reduced populations, fewer people available for productive work, and weakened economies, it is creating orphans, who in many cases have to work to support their younger brothers and sisters, so it increases child Labour.

It is a major cause of poverty and discrimination. It aggravates existing problems of inadequate social protection and Gender inequality.

However, there are many places where the spread of HIV and AIDS has been slowed down and numerous examples of how people can live a full life for many years after diagnosis. We are learning how to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and live more positively with the virus: HIV is not an immediate death sentence.

For Liberia now the ratio is 2.1% which could go up if nothing is done to slow same down.

The Department is currently headed by Mrs. Emma Lawson Benson, a graduate of the Cuttington University, with Bachelor Degree in English/Literature.