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Question:- With reference to the National Policy on HIV/AIDS, outline the steps which are followed in developing an HIV/AIDS

work place policy


A policy is a strategic plan of action, statement with ideas and values agreed upon in the organisation or by an entity around HIV/AIDS initiatives. Its a summary of broad guidelines/paths which is respected and adhered to when implementing the various programmes and projects outlined in the policy implementation plans. The Zimbabwe National Policy is thus a statement of ideals developed in order to promote and guide present and future responses of AIDS in Zimbabwe. It was formulated due to the fact that according to calculations the rate of HIV/AIDS kept increasing therefore this also led to the development of HIV/AIDS workplace policies since 25% of infected people working age group (15-49) years. The Zimbabwe National Policy (ZNP) on HIV/AIDS is based on human rights that are needed to ensure appropriate responses to the tragic disease at workplace level and sectorial, in order to promote HIV prevention, infection to support employees and the nation at large. In order to develop the HIV/AIDS workplace policy, the ZNP outlines the principles of the policy sectors should recognise as a priority to integrate it into their planning and programmes. According to the principle 1 of the ZNP, all sectors and communities should participate in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Thus, the first step of the policy development is to analyse and assess all stakeholders internationally, and then design a framework. This is to ensure that all sectors integrate the disease into their planning and programming. A team hence is established to design the policy framework with guidelines and terms to follow in mobilizing resources to support the epidemic. Stakeholder involvement needs assessment and baseline survey is the first step to follow when developing on HIV/AIDS workplace policy. There must be involvement of both internal and external stakeholders. The policy should be clear on who will find and approve them. It must also be clear on who will provide information, expertise and other resources needed. Participation and involvement of all stakeholders ensure ownership and greater commitment in all activities. The second step to follow is the design of general framework by subcommittee. There must an establishment of or steering teams to do this. The team is to use participatory approaches and to be representative of stakeholders. The team is to work under clear guidelines milestones and teams of references. It also raises a point that the team must produce a framework of the plan leading to draft plan. The team subcommittee should then engage in secondary research and publication. Benchmarking helps in following best practices and involves experts. The next step to take is to review/research the trend and compile the draft document. This is done by reconciliation of ideas and documentations and refines the draft policy. The subcommittees have to check the draft against other policies from Zimbabwe and the region. The policy is then finalized and establishment of the basic institutions of the policy and craft the mission, core values and vision is done.

The committee should go on finding out the impacting HIV/AIDS in the workplace and community at large. By getting this information it will help employees living with HIV/AIDS to understand and accept. Entitled to receive so that they are more likely to come forward for voluntary test at the testing center. More so, this information can help the organisation at large in developing an action plan for the workplace and managing its impact ultimately saving resources. After taking the above steps, a policy is then drafted and seeks approval by the pi-partite partners to the employers and the employees including their unions. For the draft to be approved it should include/drafted in line with the regulations based on national and international laws. Moreover, the policy objective must have covered that is, how broad your policy is in terms in creating a supportive environment of compassion and using for employees with HIV/related illness. The policy must state that employees are treated equally whether there is prevention, care and support services for the staff as well as the community at large. As soon as the policy is approved it is then launched. Everyone in the organisation should be aware of it. In addition, a number of practical issues need to be addressed to ensure a sustainable and effective response. Stakeholders workshop to review and modify the draft document and is also an important step when developing on HIV/AIDs workplace policy. The draft policy has to be reviewed by the stakeholders. The draft is then compared with other existing policies to see if it is realistic. The stakeholders workshop is done to check if the draft policy adheres to the National AIDS policy by involving external expertise. The National AIDS policy states that each employee should get each copy of the workplace policy and anyone who breaks the regulations of the document should be punished. Remuneration for any types of leaves should be the same for both who are infected with HIV/AIDS. The National AIDS policy includes that no employer shall terminate the employment of an employee on the grounds of that employees HIV status alone. Subject to any law to the country, the HIV status of an employee shall not affect his eligibility for any occupational/other benefit schemes provided for employees. It shall not be compulsory for any employee to undergo, directly any testing for HIV. However, where any HIV testing is necessary, the employer shall ensure that the employee undergoes appropriate pre and post HIV test counseling. Any employee suffering from HIV/AIDS shall be subject to the same conditions relating to sick leave as those applicable to any other employee in terms of the act. Working conditions and procedures in relation to occupations which require providing services where there may be a risk of transmitting HIV/AIDS shall be designed to ensure optimal hygienic precautions to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and related communicable diseases to employees and members of the public.

The team should consider legal instruments, SADC protocol, ILO code of practice, GIPA, MIPHA principle. There must be revision of the objectives to make them smart. The objectives of the work lace must be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic and time bound. The policy shall not be gender sensitive and have to be developed in a participative manner. Promotion of conducive organizational cultures also encouraged when developing an HIV/AIDS workplace policy. After taking a stakeholders workshop to review and modify the draft, the final draft is compiled and the document must be accepted by all stakeholders. Any person who contravenes any provision of these regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding US$5 000-00/to imprisonment for a period exceeding 6 months or to both such fine and imprisonment. It should be open that all stakeholders are able to know. The policy is then presented to relevant authorities and official launch of the policy. The document is then made an important document of the organisation. It should be acknowledged for the participation of all stakeholders are free to bring in new ideas and views. Each employee should get a copy of these regulations. The document is to be translated to various common languages of those who are going to receive it. Another step which is considered when developing an HIV/AIDS workplace policy is updating and reviewing the policy according to trends in the local and outside environment. Conclusively, these are the steps that have to be followed when developing an HIV/AIDS workplace policy. Each employee should get a copy of the document written in his/her common language. The document should be considered a special and important document of the organisation.

REFERENCE 1. Price Smith (2007) Global Health : Vicious Circle, Volume 1, No. 1 (January 2007) http://www.ghgj.org AIDS Africa, A Continent In Crisis, Harare: SAFAIDS publishers. AIDS: The Challenge for South Africa, Cape Town: Human and Rousseau Publishers.

2. Helen. J. (2002) 3. Whiteside. A (2000)

4.

Zimbabwe Human Development Report 2003

5. National HIV/AIDS Policy document of Zimbabwe.

6.

The World Bank 2003, Averting AIDS Crises in Eastern Europe and Asia: A Regional Support Strategy.

7. Kwaramba S: The Socio-Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS on Communal Agricultural Production Systems in Zimbabwe, ZFU and Stiftung F E 1997. 8. UNDP;HIV and Development Issues in Africa, mimeo NY, 2000