Monday, September 29, 2014
NACOPHA faults employers for violating directives issued in a government paper
The National Council for the People living with HIV/AIDS (NACOPHA) has strongly blamed some employers in the country for their failure to abide by the directives issued in a government paper of the public service No: 2 of 2006. The paper states that, all employers in both public and private sectors are required to provide nutritious foodstuffs to their employees who already have been infected with the HIV/AIDS pandemic disease virus in order to keep healthy their bodies. The directives were issued by the government with a view to safeguard employees already confirmed to be living with HIV/AIDS viruses and had recommended an additional payment of between Sh. 30,000 and Sh. 50,000 to be disbursed by employers on their monthly basic salaries. NACOPHA’s Chairperson Vitalis Makayula expressed his disappointment over the matter in an exclusive interview last week in Dar es Salaam and noted that, little progress has been shown on the part of its implementation since the idea was initiated eight years ago. He said the move by the government is to supplement HIV/AIDS victims with enough money and be able to afford such basic needs buy nutritious foodstuffs to keep strong the protective body cells known as CD4 cells. He confirmed that, the government’s initiative seems to have been ignored by most employers as only about 25 percent of the reinforcement has been realised up to now. However, he doubts as the majority of Tanzanian employers do not have work place programmes to operate in order to implement the government’s order effectively an aspect that makes them take the matter with less seriousness. He is of the view of the fact that, the continued negligence by some employers causes fears among the already affected victims who in turn are afraid to announce their status, thus the situation aggravates the rising number of infected people at work places. “This is contrary to the rules and our regulations set which requires people to announce their status and once are known, proper care should be taken for them as this is one way to end stigmatization” he said adding that most employers wait and pay the terminal benefits of the affected victims to their relatives when they have died. In another development, Makayula has said that, the rate at which stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV viruses (PLVA) is growing at an alarming rate among the communities in the country. He mentioned two commonly notorious types of attitudes which are still dominating among the sufferers namely Self stigma and community stigma are growing among the affected victims an aspect that it has become so difficult to reduce the infections. He elaborated that, self stigma is being shown by AIDS sufferers by way of keeping quiet and keeps cool without exposing their status for lack of freedom among the community members, and this is because are afraid of being stigmatized, whereas the community stigma is where people in general show their attitudes openly against the affected people. Other challenges he noted are related with the shortage of funds an aspect which has hampered various development projects set for the council. However, he further noted that donor funding organizations which the council depends upon are staggering in issuing their funds and so have to look for other means in order to survive owing to the fact that the government does not have its own budget set for entire operational activities. Contacted for comments, the Information officer with the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) Godlease Malisa said that, the donor funding organizations have directed their funds to other development activities and manage little for them. TACAIDS is a national apex body which overlooks issues related with HIV/AIDS in the country and is closely working in collaboration with NACOPHA in terms of help, planning including money for entire operation. NACOPHA is the umbrella organization which was registered in September, 2005 as a non-partisan, non governmental and not-for-profit organization. The council is comprised of more than 10 national group networks of people living with HIV operating countrywide. The National networks are also comprised of registered NGOs and organized groups of different levels. The council manages resources received from donors and from TACAIDS to support implementation of the various program activities advocating for issues and concerns of the PLHAs in Tanzania.