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Atlas Copco launches workplace HIV/AIDS policy with firm commitment

posted Nov 17, 2010, 6:39 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers
Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - Atlas Copco Ghana, a worldwide industrial productivity solution provider, launched a workplace HIV/AIDS policy on Wednesday in Accra with a strong commitment to promote staff's health needs because it makes business sense.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr George Apostolopoulos said: "HIV/AIDS is a sensitive issue worldwide and therefore very important for us as a company. Atlas Copco is deeply committed to making sure that its workers live and work in healthy environment." The aim is to limit the further spread of HIV/AIDS, providing support for employees that are infected or affected with HIV/AIDS by creating a safe working environment.

The launch makes Atlas Copco the 39th private company in Ghana that has adopted a workplace HIV/AIDS policy and registered with the Ghana Business Coalition Against HIV/AIDS, an organization that mobilizes and empowers the Ghanaian business community to take effective action on the disease.

Mr Alex Banfo, an Executive Council Member of the Ghana Business Coalition Against HIV/AIDS, who performed the launch together with Mr Apostolopoulos, said companies must see HIV/AIDS workplace programmes as human resource investments. "When you have to replace a staff on grounds of health, it is a quite an expensive venture. This therefore shows that Atlas Copco is interested not only in the staff's welfare but more so itself. "Education on HIV/AIDS is important but more importantly a company accepting to do so for its workers and making it a workplace policy," Mr Banfo stressed.

The Coalition, he said, had initiated steps to expand its scope to include Malaria in its promotion programme because of the growing frightening statistics on the disease. Malaria currently forms about 22 percent of all deaths in Ghana which is a bigger productivity loss, he noted.

Dr Derek Nii Armah Aryee, Programme Director of the Coalition said the response to adopting the workplace policy by the private sector had been slow in Ghana compared to other nations.

He said since 2003, only about 40 companies had responded and urged other businesses especially medium and small enterprises to approach the Coalition for the technical assistance to make their work place safe and healthy for their workers.

Ms Susan Manu, the Deputy Human Resource Manager and Administrative Manager of Atlas Copco together with two other workers were inaugurated as HIV/AIDS Focal Person and peer educators respectively to see to the effective implementation of the policy. 17 Nov. 10
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