The Federal Government has introduced the National Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS, aimed at fostering a culture of inclusivity, compassion, and collective responsibility in workplaces across the country.
In a statement released on Friday by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the policy, developed in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation, seeks to strengthen communities in their response to the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, officially launched the policy in Abuja as part of the activities commemorating the 2023 World Day Against HIV/AIDS. She characterized the launch as a significant milestone in Nigeria’s commitment to establishing workplaces that go beyond being mere employment spaces.
“This policy serves as a comprehensive framework, acknowledging the distinctive role workplaces play in the lives of individuals and communities,” she remarked.
Onyejeocha emphasized that the policy symbolizes the Federal Government’s dedication to the well-being of the workforce and the nation’s prosperity. She highlighted the need for a comprehensive and collaborative response to the HIV/AIDS challenge and called on employers, employees, trade unions, and other stakeholders to embrace and diligently implement the policy.
The minister pointed out that the theme of the 2023 World Day Against AIDS, “Let Communities Lead,” underscores the importance of collective efforts and the pivotal role that diverse communities’ leadership and resilience play in addressing the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS.
Onyejeocha noted that this year’s theme calls for a shift in the approach to the HIV/AIDS response, recognizing that communities are active leaders in the fight against the pandemic.
“By empowering communities, we strengthen the foundation of our response and chart a more resilient and sustainable path forward,” she added.
Earlier, Emmanuel Igbinosun, the Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, emphasized that the policy adopts a community-centric approach, recognizing the unique role of workplaces in the lives of individuals and communities. He explained that it is designed to promote awareness, inclusion, and provide a framework for the prevention, support, and management of HIV/AIDS within the workforce.
Igbinosun described the National Policy on HIV/AIDS as a significant step toward the collective commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive work environment. He noted that the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day encourages the active participation of communities in shaping the narrative, dispelling myths, and providing support to those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Vanessa Phala, the Country Director of ILO, reiterated ILO’s commitment to supporting actions to strengthen the national response to HIV/AIDS. Represented by Stephen Agugua, Phala urged all stakeholders to support the government’s efforts in enhancing Nigeria’s national HIV and AIDS response and scaling up policies and programs on HIV across the country.