Mozambique Business Association Launches Program That Aims To Address HIV/AIDS in Workplaces
The Confederation of Business Associations in Mozambique recently launched a program called ECOSIDA to address issues related to HIV/AIDS in the workplace, SAPA/iAfrica.com reports. According to Salimo Abdula, president of the confederation, the country's business sector is experiencing the consequences of HIV/AIDS through the increased absence of employees, which has started to affect production.
According to official statistics, at least 16% of the country's population ages 15 to 49 is living with HIV/AIDS, and at least 500 people contract HIV daily. In response to Mozambique's high HIV prevalence, the World Bank has lowered its prediction on life expectancy in the country to 37 years in 2010. In addition, although the country's economy has increased by about 7% annually during the past few years, the World Bank in a recent report estimated that HIV/AIDS could lower economic growth rates in the country by as much as one percent annually, SAPA/iAfrica.com reports.
"HIV/AIDS is not a case for the future," Abdula said, adding that "it is starting to affect companies now through performance of workers, and this is mostly evident in increased cases of absence from work." To address the consequences of the epidemic, ECOSIDA will encourage workers to be tested for HIV. "We believe that if workers know their status and they are HIV-positive, they can receive treatment, and they can continue with their jobs," Abdula said. He added that although the government is participating in many HIV/AIDS programs, it still needs to involve the private sector by providing incentives to companies that are taking action against the disease. "The result (of fighting the pandemic) has not been achieved, and the private sector feels that medium- and small-scale companies need to be self-sufficient in their fight against the pandemic," Abdula said, adding, "This could be achieved if the government gives incentives to companies involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS" (SAPA/iAfrica.com, 6/20).