Government has sought to empower persons living with HIV and other chronic diseases through the provision of a Code of Practice.?? It was launched by the Ministry of Labour in October last year.

This is according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Martin Cox, who noted that the majority of persons impacted by HIV were within the working population, but could continue to lead productive and healthy lives.

In this regard, he said the workplace was a crucial focus for prevention efforts at the national level, with the Code of Practice a vital tool in creating a safe and enabling environment for employees.

Mr. Cox was speaking at the opening ceremony of a one-day workshop yesterday for training/personnel officers and HIV/AIDS Coordinators at the Tamarind Cove Hotel, Paynes Bay, St. James. It was organised by the HIV Project Unit of the Ministry of Labour.

"The Code is a tool to guide managers and supervisors, as it prepares them for management of a variety of situations relating to HIV, AIDS and chronic illnesses in the workplace… [It] seeks to empower persons living with HIV or any other chronic disease… [and it] ultimately ensures that a better and safer environment is created for all public officers in the workplace," the Permanent Secretary pointed out.

He stressed that the Code also illustrates Government’s commitment to providing a fair, non-discriminatory and human rights driven work environment for all of its employees regardless of their HIV status, or any other life threatening illness.

The aim of the session was to educate participants about the guidelines contained in Government’s Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and other Life Threatening Illnesses for the Public Sector and, by extension, provide a cadre of persons who will deliver training to the various public sector organisations.

The 14-page Code of Practice is the brainchild of the Ministry of Labour’s HIV/AIDS Core Group. It addresses several pertinent issues related to the modern workplace and deals with health-related matters, including confidentiality, stigma and discrimination, the desire and ability to work, and safety and health.??

Author: Andr?? Skeete

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