UNAIDS Official Calls for Efforts To Address Disease Among Workers in Fiji
HIV/AIDS efforts in Fiji should be mobilized to address disruptions in productivity among workers in the country, Stuart Watson, UNAIDS coordinator for the Pacific Region, said on Tuesday, the Fiji Times reports. Watson was addressing participants at an event to mark the 2009 World Day for Safety and Health at Work. He noted that HIV/AIDS often affects workers, who are the drivers of a country's economy.
According to Watson, certain factors -- including economic and social inequality, stigma, migration, mobility and lack of access to services -- have created the ideal conditions for HIV/AIDS to spread. He also called on participants to avoid complacency when responding to HIV/AIDS. "Believing that HIV is someone else's problem and not something that we all need to deal with in our homes and offices is indeed a violation of human rights and dignity," Watson said. Representatives from the Fiji Employers Federation, Fiji Trade Unions Congress, Ministry of Labor and the International Labor Organization attended the event, which aimed to examine a national code of practice for HIV/AIDS. Participants will also attend a training session on HIV with the Fiji Red Cross, according to the Times (Fiji Times, 4/28).