One of the companies manufacturing anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD), has launched a campaign to enable employers provide treatment for their workers.
Jeffrey Kemprecos, the MSD director of public affairs for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said it is more cost effective to treat workers than to lose them.
He said the company would train health workers and offer the drugs at no profit, to all companies in Africa that are willing to treat their workers.
In Uganda, the Bank of Uganda was the first organisation to benefit from the programme. Officials said MSD would work out ways to ensure that even small and medium scale companies benefit from the programme.
â€œThis offer is open to any business company or anybody responsible for employing people,â€ Kemprecos said.
Under the drug access initiative, Uganda is one of the 60 countries that receive AIDS drugs at the no-profit price. Despite dramatic reductions in the prices of AIDS drugs, the Government cannot yet afford to give free ARVs.
However, Kemprecos said the involvement of employers is one of the most sustainable ways to treat HIV/AIDS patients. He said employers would not feel the burden since only a few workers would need treatment and this would save the lives of people with invaluable skills.
The Uganda-based HIV product specialist for MSD, David Bagonza, said the company would also help to train the staff of companies, on matters related to ARVs. He said, MSD is ready to facilitate employers to set up work place HIV/AIDS policies programmes.
Companies urged to treat workers