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Businesses should fight the spread of HIV

Deputy mayor of Windhoek, Gerson KamatukaBusinesses in both the private and public sectors need to work together in order to promote employee wellness and implement ways in which their employees can be well informed about work related illnesses, says the deputy mayor of Windhoek, Gerson Kamatuka.
Speaking at the third annual Local Economic Development Conference which focused on the impact HIV/AIDS has on economic development, Kamatuka said the City of Windhoek has implemented various ways in which to assist in reducing the spread of the disease in the workplace.
He said that through the support of small and big organisations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Namibian Business Coalition on AIDS (NABCOA), the Ministry of Health and Social Services, New Start and the University of Namibia, the municipality has set up various programmes that are aimed at helping to spread awareness of the disease in the work place and in various communities.
Kamatuka further said that the municipality has an HIV/AIDS steering committee which drefted internal and external policies for employees who are affected by the disease.
“HIV/AIDS statistics have sky rocketed among people in the ages of 30-39 and we as the City of Windhoek have become more proactive on the issue and have decided to walk the talk and help reduce and bring awareness of the disease to our employees and communities,” he said.
The Ohlthaver & List Group also gave a presentation on their employee wellness strategy towards achieving desired results in the workplace. Berthold Mukuahima, human resources director of the group, said O&L is value-driven and believes in employee wellness and enhancing the lives and well being of their employees.
The group of companies has various programmes in place to achieve employee wellness, including a programme which educates employees on physical wellness where they spread awareness on diseases such as cholesterol gout, cancer, HIV/AIDS and encourage good eating habits. Also amongst their concerns are psycho-social and organisational wellness.
Mukuahima said that by using such programmes, the company creates a culture of people who are healthy, happy and who experience job satisfaction. O&L has not only set up programmes that spread awareness about HIV/AIDS in Windhoek, but in small communities as well, in order to give support to non-governmental organisations that help spread awareness on the disease.
Peter Van Wyk, CEO of NABCOA, also said that HIV statistics of people in the age group of 30-39 has risen and that there is a need for workplace interventions, as workers sometimes get reckless. “The HIV/AIDS youth prevalence rate has decreased and that of adults has increased to 29.7% from the previous 13.3 %,” he concluded.

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