Oct 28, 2008, 6:29 AM
Business Coalition Against HIV/AIDS of The Gambia (BUCAHA), in collaboration with the National Aids Secretariat (NAS) on Thursday June 25th held a day-long sensitisation seminar for the private sector.
The forum held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi discussed, among other things, voluntary counselling and testing for private sector employees, the need for private sector involvement in the campaign against HIV/AIDS.
The impacts of HIV/ADIS, especially at work places were also highlighted.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Julius Freeman, the President of BUCAHA disputed that HIV/AIDS is not only a disease, but also a developmental challenge.
"Therefore, we in the private sector also have a crucial role to play by leveraging our core competences for a collective response to HIV and AIDS," he stressed.
He noted that HIV/AIDS is a major threat in the work place as it affects the most productive segment of the labour force.
"The epidemic imposes huge costs on businesses in all sectors through declining productivity, increase labour costs as well as loss of skills and experience," says Mr. Freeman.
Other speakers at the occasion included Mr. Paul Mendy, the Secretary- General of the organisation who called on all private sector organisations that are not yet registered with BUCAHA to come on board and join in the fight against HIV/AIDs.
He emphasised that the fight against HIV/AIDs is not a competition, but something that requires the concerted efforts of all and sundry.
Mr. Nuha Ceesay of UNAIDS also reaffirmed his organisation's resolve in helping the country in its fight against AIDs, particularly to promote the national strategy framework for HIV/AID implementation.