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Corporate Responses to HIV/AIDS in India

HIV/AIDS is a condition that affects young adults, reducing their productivity and bringing their lives to an early end. While assessing the economic impact of AIDS is difficult, studies suggest that some of the hardest-hit countries with generalized epidemics may forfeit 2 per cent or more of annual GDP growth. Thus businesses have much to gain from preventing the spread of HIV infection among their workers, suppliers and customers during their peak years. A January 2007 study titled “Corporate Responses to HIV/AIDS: Case Studies from India” by the World Bank, the World Bank Institute, and the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) has found that taking early action on prevention pays off for companies. Not only does it reduce the future burden of death and disability, but also averts the high cost of treating and caring for large numbers of people living with HIV and AIDS. Such an epidemic can also have broad macroeconomic effects, such as dampening markets, saving rates, investment, and consumer spending. Moreover, in regions heavily affected by HIV and AIDS the general pattern of expenditure is skewed towards health care and medication. It is thus in the interest of businesses to stem the spread of the epidemic so as to retain and build markets for their products and services. Efforts by corporate houses can go a long way in promoting HIV prevention programs at the workplace. Businesses also have the power to form strong lobby groups that can influence government policy. Better monitoring and evaluation also helps in planning and implementing programs, in identifying gaps, and, importantly, in sustaining, scaling up, and expanding initiatives. The study highlights the work of five Indian companies on HIV-AIDS. Their work ranges from advocacy, to awareness generation, to prevention and treatment. Some are adopting imaginative ways of generating awareness such as producing tapes of popular Hindi songs interspersed with HIV and AIDS messages, or promoting street theater. Others are providing truckers with a “passport” which gives easy access to their medical history to assist in prevention, and treatment if necessary.
Reliance Industries Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest private sector company, has set up a well-equipped medical center near its industrial site in Hazira, Gujarat, where it provides both tuberculosis and AIDS treatment. Together with local NGOs they have reached nearly 300,000 people through awareness initiatives, testing and counseling services, and antiretroviral therapy. The company is now constructing a new center at the Hazira site, which can accommodate more patients. It not only plans to replicate this program at its other company sites, but is also considering implementing similar HIV and AIDS initiatives at Reliance gas stations on the highway, targeted at long-distance truckers.
Hindustan Lever Hindustan Lever Limited, a fast-moving consumer goods company with more than a 100 manufacturing plants across India, has initiated workplace programs aimed at protecting the health of its skilled young workforce. HLL has used its expertise in distribution and management to spread HIV and AIDS awareness through initiatives with rural entrepreneurs. And in the future they plan to use their extensive marketing network in rural areas to promote and distribute condoms.
DCM Shriram DCM Shriram Consolidated Limited, with interests mainly in chemicals and agribusiness, initiated an HIV and AIDS program at its plant in Kota, Rajasthan, aimed at providing a safe and healthy work environment. The program draws on the local culture, adapting information, education, and communication material to local sensibilities and using cultural performances to convey HIV and AIDS messages. This strategy has helped broaden the appeal of its messages and gain acceptance for the program among the local population.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), a public sector company, which is constructing the metro rail system in Delhi, draws a huge number of migrant workers, a population typically at high risk for HIV infection. The DMRC initiated an HIV and AIDS program for contractors and workers that included advocacy, peer education, and promotion of condom use. This nine-month program reached more than 3000 workers. The company is also ensuring that its efforts are taken forward since its agreements with contractors now require that they carry out HIV prevention activities for employees working on DMRC projects.
Transport Corporation of India Recognizing the importance of truckers to its business and the vulnerability of the trucking community to HIV and AIDS, the Transport Corporation of India (TCI) has established a network of clinics along the national highways. Operated by local NGOs, these clinics serve long-distance truck drivers and their assistants, providing treatment for sexually transmitted infections and counseling services aimed at preventing HIV. SOURCE : worldbank
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Rakesh said...

very nice blog

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