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    106335

    The organized sector mobilizes against AIDS.

    Mehra-Kerpelman K

    WORLD OF WORK. 1995 May-Jun; (12):32-3.

    Representatives of English speaking African countries attended the International Labor Organization Tripartite Workshop on the Role of the Organized Sector in Reproductive Health and the Prevention of AIDS held in Uganda. AIDS has robbed these countries of lawyers, physicians, teachers, managers, and other skilled professionals, all of whom are difficult to replace. HIV/AIDS mainly affects persons in their most productive years (20-40 years) and in the higher socioeconomic groups. Professionals with AIDS become ill and die at a faster rate than their replacements can be trained. The young, less experienced work force translates into an increase in breakdowns, accidents, delays, and misjudgments. International and national efforts to control HIV/AIDS have not stopped the spread of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). More than 8 million persons in SSA are HIV infected. 1.5 million in Uganda are HIV infected. As of October 1994, 30,000 persons in Zambia and 33,000 in Zimbabwe had AIDS. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg due to underreporting. HIV/AIDS increases absenteeism among infected and healthy workers alike. It burdens the already existing scarce health care resources and equipment (e.g., in 1992, AIDS cases occupied 70% of hospital beds in Kigali, Rwanda). Unions, workers, and families must share knowledge about safer sex. The Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions has had an HIV/AIDS education program since 1992. The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions strongly supports government efforts to sensitize the labor force and society to the effects of HIV/AIDS. The Federation of Uganda Employers has reached about 150,000 workers and more than 200 top executives through its AIDS prevention activities. Some company programs provide medical facilities for employees and their families. The Ubombo Ranches, Ltd. in Swaziland, a producer and processor of sugar cane, has a training-of-trainers program on HIV/AIDS and family planning for all village health workers and village headmen.
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