Voluntary Counselling and Testing of workers continue under the TUC Aid Project in Nigeria.
In the last three months of 2010, 2,373 workers attended the two VCT facilities set up under the Building Workplace Capacity to Combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria Project implemented in partnership with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). This brings the total attendance at VCT clinics to 4,442 since the launch of the initiative in July 2010. So far, 303 people have tested positive and been referred to appropriate hospitals for treatment and care.
Lobbying for passage of Anti-discrimination Bill
On 1st December 2010, the NLC joined hands with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to celebrate the World AIDS Day in collaboration with the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders. Detailed information on combating the pandemic at global level including contributions from the Global Fund, World Bank and the Government of Nigeria was made available at a press conference. The NACA publicized its interventions in the primary health centres and encouraged people in the countryside to avail themselves of the services. The Press Conference was followed by a visit by an NLC delegation to the Upper House of the National Assembly as part of an advocacy and lobbying campaign for the passage of anti-stigma and discrimination bill currently before the parliament. The delegates were received by Mrs Ivabo Obasanjo, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on health. She pledged support for the Bill and assured the delegation that the Committee would work towards its eventual passage into law. She informed the delegation that the Committee was yet to formally receive the Bill from the Lower House. An advance copy of the Bill was handed over to the senator and the leader of the delegation promised to follow the matter up. The WAD rally at the Eagle Square drew representatives from a large number of organisations collaborating on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and was attended by a number of diplomats from developed counties.
ILO Recommendation on HIV/AIDS on World of Work
In December 2010, the Nigeria Labour Congress, as part of project activities, organized a one-day seminar to popularize the newly adopted ILO Recommendation on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work (R200). The seminar which brought together the leadership of the NLC, trade unions from education and health sectors affiliated to the NLC, Civil Society Organisations, Government representatives and the ILO representative, Mr. U Pius, provided a useful opportunity to inform stakeholders of the importance of R200 and to focus on its relevance as a valuable guide in the formulation of national policies and practices in the fight against HIV and AIDS at workplace. It was also pointed out that the R200 could also be integrated into occupational health and safety systems to safeguard the rights of workers. Mr Abdulwaheed Omar, NLC President, who declared open the seminar, in his opening remarks, reiterated the commitment of the NLC to the fight against HIV and AIDS and emphasized that the NLC action on the pandemic dated back to 2005 when Congress adopted its policy on it. He added that the close collaboration between the NLC and the TUC in the UK in combating the disease was a vindication of the NLC stance on the issue. He reminded the participants that the meaningful integration of the salient principles of the R200 into national policies and practices was essential and that trade unions, employers' organisations and other stakeholders should work very closely in this regard.
Information and Education Campaign
The Harmattan School held from 22 to 26 November 2010 at the Teachers Training School in Kaduna under the theme Participatory Democracy and Good Governance gave the opportunity to reach out to 126 participants on the risks of HIV infection. The NLC-TUC Project on HIV/AIDS sponsored a stand to display information and education material and provided VCT facilities with the support of volunteers. Participants received information material and fifty of the participants attended the clinic with one person testing positive and being referred to a treatment centre. In addition, condoms were distributed to participants.
The training of trade union officials from participating unions in the preventive aspects of the pandemic as well as in the protection of employment and human rights through the implementation of a national workplace policy is in progress. Since the launch of the Project in June 2009, some 2,300 trade union officials have attended training courses. The awareness-raising programmes with focus on risks of infection conducted under the Project were attended by 249 trade union officials, representatives from civil society organisations and NLC Women's Committee members. Some 11,600 employees have so far been reached through the information and education campaign targeted on workplaces.
Issued: 6 May, 2011