The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is mobilizing support for the implementation of the ILO Recommendation on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work adopted by the International Labour Conference in June 2010.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, Chairperson of the NLC-TUC Project Steering Committee, in a presentation to the NEC, stressed the importance of R200 to all workplaces in Nigeria and the need for meaningful measures to be taken to enforce it and pointed out that in the absence of appropriate legislation on discrimination, the ILO Recommendation could be an effective means of promoting and protecting the rights and entitlements of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Mr Wabba called upon both unions and State Councils to become strong advocates of R200 at the negotiating table and said that the NLC would convene a Stakeholder's meeting with high-level participants from various organizations. Copies of R200 were also distributed to all NEC members.
Meanwhile the activities under the Building Workplace Capacity to Combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria Project launched in July 2009 in partnership with the NLC are in progress. In the first quarter of 2012, a total of 2,251 workers attended the two Voluntary Counseling and Confidential Testing Centres (VCCT) organized under the Project with 142 workers (6.3%) being diagnosed with HIV. 41% of the attendees were men with women including pregnant mothers accounting for 59% of the total number. As reported in earlier updates on the Project, the attendance at VCCT clinics has consistently exceeded the targets since the opening in July 2010.
The NLC-TUC workplace initiative was commended by a team from the Public Health Department of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and from Excellence and Friends Management Consultants (E&F) - an NGO - in a meeting organized by the management of the Gwarinpa General Hospital and attended by the project team in February 2012. It is understood that the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PERFAR) would support an initiative by Excellence and Friends on HIV/AIDS at the hospital which would include HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT), laboratory equipment and the provision of Anti-Retro-Viral drugs to people living with HIV/AIDS towards the end of July 2012 when the current NLC-TUC initiative has been completed.
The Information and Education Activities (IEA) on HIV/AIDS, which forms part of the outreach strategy at grassroots level continued. The Medical and Health Union and Nurses Union carried out IEA at three different hospitals in the North, Central and Eastern parts of Nigeria. A total of 115 persons participated in the lunch talks between January and March 2012. The facilitators took the participants through basic information on HIV/AIDS which included modes of contraction of HIV and STIs. They also looked at stigma and discrimination and gender issues at workplace in relation to HIV/AIDS.
Following the decision by the NEC meeting, the NLC organized a Stakeholders' meeting on Anti-Stigmatization Bill and the ILO R200. The meeting attended by 53 participants from some 25 NGOs, the Government and the media discussed the means and ways of lobbying for the speedy passage of the Anti-Stigmatization Bill and the awareness-raising of the need for the implementation of R200. The Director-General of Nigerian AIDS Commission addressing the meeting encouraged all interested parties to work towards the three Zeros strategy (Zero New infection, Zero AIDS related death and Zero stigma and discrimination), suggested that the Bill be reviewed, as most of it related to workplaces without due consideration for other sections such as children and youth and requested all, notably, the media to report correct information on HIV/AIDS.
The Chairperson of the NLC HIV/AIDS Committee also made a presentation on the ILO R200 and pointed to the similarities between the current National Workplace Policy, R200 and the Anti-Stigmatization Bill. The participants agreed that the R200 would be considered in the review process. Five of the participating unions have developed specific HIV/AIDS workplace policies under the guidance of Mr Andy Harvey, TUC Technical Advisor to the Project.
The NLC joined hands with trade unionists in Africa in an advocacy and lobbying campaign spearheaded by the Canadian Labour Congress(CLC) and the ITUC, targeting Canadian diplomatic representations in the continent with a view to persuading the host nation of the G8 Summit to seek agreement among all G8 nations to implement the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV & AIDS and the ILO Recommendation 200 and commit more resources to replenish the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Campaign involved writing letters to the Canadian High Commission, signing of forms agreeing to an AIDS free generation by 2015 and discussions with the Canadian High Commission. An NLC delegation led by a Vice President of the NLC visited the Canadian High Commission towards the end of March 2012 and was assured that the message would be transmitted to the Canadian Government and that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) would look at collaboration with the NLC on HIV/AIDS. The NLC-TUC workplace initiative on HIV/AIDS is funded by the DFID under the Programme Partnership Arrangement (PPA) with the TUC.
Briefing document (900 words) issued 15 May 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21034-f0.cfm
printed 19 June 2013 at 11:58 hrs by 18.104.22.168