HIV in the workplace: a model for scaling up
CARE, UNIVIDA, Quito, Ecuador
Issues: During a study of the Private Sector (PS) in Ecuador,
high-levels of discrimination towards HIV positive people were found, as well
as misconceptions about transmission in the workplace. Business leaders felt
that positive people were a threat to the health of their employees.
Description: A number advocacy and training sessions were held with 470
representatives of different business & trade union directors and associations
of banana, cocoa exporters, banks & private clinics in order to understand
the PS agenda in addressing HIV. Working in collaboration with UNDP, CARE was
able to assess the dynamics of the corporate sector, its practices, their
HIV-related needs, prejudices about civil society, and finally develop
recommendations for designing an HIV approach for the PS.
Lessons learned: Working in collaboration with executive level managers of
companies and creating an intervention strategy with them guaranteed that goals
were achieved. Engagement with trade associations helped ensure their
involvement of key actors, and in turn active participation of member
companies. Handing out a ready-to-use “kit” of educational materials to
participating companies allowed them to implement activities easily. The level
and caliber of the actors involved, guaranteed staff commitment, sensitization
of key figures within participating companies, and replication of the process
at all levels of the companies. The focus on human rights helped all involved
in decision making and appreciate the importance of working on HIV.
Next steps: Facilitate working relationships amongst the PS and the
Ministries of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Labor (MoL) in meeting social
responsibility goals rather than an antagonistic and distrustful relationship.
Additionally, the MoH and the PS can collaborate to strengthen the health
systems for local communities; including engaging the PS to hold the MoH
accountable for health services for its employees.
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