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HIV/AIDS: FG launches national workplace policy to check stigmatization

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The Federal Government has launched the National Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS, designed to instill a culture of inclusivity, compassion, and collective responsibility within the nation’s workplaces.

A statement issued on Friday by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment said the policy, launched in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation, was aimed at fortifying communities against the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, launched the policy in Abuja as part of activities to mark the 2023 World Day Against HIV/AIDS.

She described the launch of the policy as a remarkable milestone in Nigeria’s commitment to establishing workplaces that transcend mere places of employment.

“This policy stands as a comprehensive framework, recognising the unique role workplaces play in the lives of individuals and communities,” she said.

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Onyejeocha noted that the policy would serve as a symbol of the dedication of the Federal Government to the well-being of the workforce and the prosperity of the nation.

The minister stated that the HIV/AIDS challenge required a comprehensive and collaborative response and called on all employers, employees, trade unions, and other stakeholders to embrace and diligently implement the policy.

Onyejeocha observed that the theme of the 2023 World Day Against AIDS, “Let Communities Lead,” captured the essence of collective endeavours and the crucial role that leadership and resilience of diverse communities play in the joint efforts to address the challenges caused by HIV/AIDS.

The minister also noted that this year’s theme called for a paradigm shift in the approach to the HIV/AIDS response and “recognizes that communities are not passive recipients but pivotal leaders in the fight against the pandemic.

“Our communities, far from being mere recipients of interventions, emerge as active agents of change endowed with the ability to dispel stigma, raise awareness, and cultivate an environment marked by understanding and support.”

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Earlier, the Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Emmanuel Igbinosun, noted that the policy emphasised a community-centric approach, recognising the unique role that workplaces play in the lives of individuals and communities.

“It is designed to promote awareness and inclusion and to provide a framework for the prevention, support, and management of HIV/AIDS within the workforce,” he added.

Igbinosun described the National Policy on HIV/AIDS as a significant step forward in the collective commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive work environment.

Igbinosun remarked that the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day promoted the active participation of communities in shaping the narrative, dispelling myths, and providing support to those affected by HIV/AIDS.

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On her part, the Country Director of ILO, Vanessa Phala, restated the commitment of ILO to supporting actions to strengthen the national response to HIV/AIDS.

Phala, represented by Stephen Agugua, urged all stakeholders to support the government’s effort to strengthen Nigeria’s national HIV and AIDS response and scale up policies and programmes on HIV across the country.

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