The Labor Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has launched condom boxes for work places with a declaration that the Decent Work Act of Liberia provides that every employment entity that has more than 20 persons working must have a Health and Safety Officer appointed by the management.
He said that such appointed officer may not be a doctor or nurse, but one that will ensure that the health and safety of the workers are paramount.
“This is important because an entity with sick people will not have production and if no production, it affects the overall economy,” he added.
The Labor Minister maintained that following meetings with major concessionaires and business institutions in the country to forward the names of their Health and Safety Officers, many have complied as per the records.
Minister Gibson was speaking on Thursday, November 18, 2021 during the launching ceremony of condom boxes to various Ministries, Agencies, Public Corporations, Colleges/Universities, Vocational institutions and Hotels held at the Ministry of Labor. The ceremony, which was held under the auspices of the HIV and AIDS at the Workplace Section of the Ministry of Labor brought together representatives of the National AID Commission, UN AIDS, ILO, Government Ministries and Agencies, etc.
Speaking further, Minister Gibson said that the launch of the condom boxes is intended to serve as an example on how the Ministry wants employment institutions to take the issues of health and safety at their places of work.
He noted that though the cost of producing one box is very little, it can help to save lives and increase productivity and production in the workplace.
He used the occasion to inform the public that several pharmacies have offered to help his Ministry to provide condoms, but noted that the MOL is helping itself by providing the boxes and encouraged the recipients of the condoms to inform the Ministry whenever it is needed to be recharged.
Minister Gibson added that the distribution of the condom boxes will contribute in a very small way to the fight against COVID-19 since HIV is considered as one of the underlining factors and increase in the health and safety of workers of Liberia.
“Though there are reports that HIV and AIDS index had dropped, it can drop further if more people apply preventive measures,” the Labor Minister concluded.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Programs and Policy at the National AIDS Commission, Mr. Lewis A. Wright thanked the Ministry of Labor for the initiative and noted that workplace policy on HIV and AIDS is very important in preventing stigmatization against people living with AIDS and said that he looks forward to the validation of the new Workplace Policy on HIV and AIDS.
He said that more people have enrolled on treatment and care unlike the past, meaning that the drop in the index does not mean that people are getting cured from the virus, but the attitude of people have gone towards treatment.
He used the occasion to officially invite the Minister of Labor to serve as the Keynote Speaker of this year’s “World AIDS Day” celebrations.
For his part, the Assistant Program Manager at International Labor Organization (ILO), Liberia’s office, Mr. Momo Watson said the issue of HIV and AIDS at the workplace is at the heart of ILO in that it has a negative impact on the workforce.
He said his institution remains committed in supporting the HIV and AIDS Section of the Ministry of Labor. He informed partners of a pending validation workshop on the new HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy to be held in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.