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CORPORATE RESPONSE TO HIV/AIDS: A REPLICABLE STORY FROM TECHNOPARK, TRIVANDRUM
The Mainstreaming Division of KSACS is on right track in sensitizing the corporate sector and attracting their resources to initiate workplace interventions. The pilot effort made by Mainstreaming Division with the Group of Techno Park Companies (GTECH), was such an endeavor which produced positive responses, igniting the inspiration for focused efforts with more companies in corporate sector.
There is no doubt that HIV/AIDS has direct impact on a corporate firm’s productivity and profitability. It can be a cause for greater absenteeism and staff turnover, higher recruitment and training costs, higher costs in medical care or insurance coverage, retirement funds, etc. A less obvious but equally important cost is declining morale and productivity among employees. Human rights violation may also happen to the infected employees in the work place due to the associated stigma and discrimination. AIDS not only affects the health of workers; it also takes a toll on their savings, resources of their families, and their productivity as they start spending more time taking care of the sick. In India the Government or health sector alone cannot prevent this scenario; they need support both in terms of policy level and action level from the business sector. Now the situation looks for bold actions from the business sector.
The adoption of an HIV/AIDS Policy for its member companies by GTECH with the catelistic involvement of Mainstreaming Division of KSACS is such a bold initiative to save their human work force from the octopus grip of HIV/AIDS. GTECH, The Group of Technopark Companies, founded in 2000, represented by the CEO’s of the companies in Technopark, is the apex organization of companies in Technopark. The GTECH mission is to promote the cause of the community of IT companies in Kerala, with specific emphasis on the overall development of the State. Spread over nearly 300 acres with 2.1 million sq. ft. of built-up space available currently, Technopark hosts over 120 IT and ITES companies employing over 15,000 IT professionals.
The Policy proclaims their commitment to inculcate awareness of HIV/AIDS at the deepest level among the member companies, their employees and their families to prevent its occurrence. It ensures that members do not discriminate against any employee with HIV/AIDS. The policy offers their willingness to launch regular awareness programmes with strong messages on HIV/AIDS in all the Government owned information Technology Parks in the State. The policy expresses their readiness to collaborate with KSACS and other concerned State level or National Level Government Institutions to work for the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
The G-TECH companies are now active in HIV/AIDS awareness programmes. They have incorporated a module on HIV/AIDS in their staff induction training program. They are enthusiastically associating with the voluntary blood donation programme on a regular basis and on conducting education programmes on safe blood donation to their employees. They have linked the website of KSACS to the website of G-Tech. They also readily associate with various HIV related campaigns and observance of various days like World AIDS Day, World Blood Donation day, etc.
The Mainstreaming Division maintains regular contact with the executive committee of G-Tech in search of expanding the collaboration to additional areas. This effort will certainly boost up the morale of Mainstreaming Division to extend its efforts to more other corporate institutions in the State. It will in turn help start more work place interventions to prevent HIV in the corporate sector. It will also serve our work force with sufficient messages and services on HIV and its prevention.
BEST PRACTICE DOCUMENTATION UNIT
IEC DIVISION, KERALA STATE AIDS CONTROL SOCIETY
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, KERALA, INDIA
Management Support By
HINDUSTAN LATEX FAMILY PLANNING PROMOTION TRUST (HLFPPT)