Nigerian Women's Ministry Develops HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy

Armen Hareyan's picture

TheNigerian Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development recentlydeveloped a policy that provides a framework for addressing HIV/AIDS in theworkplace, Health Minister Hajiya Saudatu Usman Bungudu announced over theweekend, Nigeria'sDaily Trust reports. She said the policy seeks to protectthe rights of HIV-positive workers, as well as foster a safe and healthy workenvironment for employees.

According to Usman Bungudu, the policy will provide a framework for prevention,care and support for those living with the disease, adding that it willdemonstrate zero tolerance of psychological abuse, stigma and discrimination ofHIV-positive staff. "The issue of HIV/AIDS has been of great interest tothe ministry, and we have committed so much resource into the National Responseboth humanly and materially," Usman Bungudu said, adding, "Since nodrugs have yet been found for the cure of the virus, concerted efforts shouldbe made by all and sundry to check the spread."


In addition, she said that employees' medical records should remainconfidential. "Everybody who is in position to obtain any medicalinformation on any individual should respect the confidentiality of suchinformation," Usman Bungudu said. Health Ministry Permanent SecretaryYakubu Nuhu Giwa said the policy will provide information about HIV/AIDS, aswell as sexual and reproductive health, to help develop an informed work forceand ultimately reduce the spread of HIV.

Giwa added that HIV/AIDS "shallbe treated as any other chronic illness in the workplace in terms of employeepolicies and benefits, including health and life insurance, disability benefitsand leave of absence." He added, "Employees living with or affectedby HIV infection and AIDS will be treated with compassion and understanding, aswith employees with other chronic illnesses" (Shehu, Daily Trust,12/17).

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