By Henry Neondo
The Kenya HIV/Aids Business Council (KHBC) has received USD17, 000 from a pharmaceutical firm to boost its activities.
The money, donated by Merck Pharmaceutical Company will help KHBC mainstream its programme known as ‘HIV/Aids at workplace in small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).
According to Melanie de Souza, HIV/Aids programme manager at the Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) Pharmaceuticals, “the KHBC’s proposal was accepted out of hundreds others from across the world”.
Speaking at the Philips Pharmarceutical while granting the cheque to KHBC chairman, George Wainaina, Melanie said the Merck HIV/Aids grants programme benefits applicants who are not-for-profit with interests in, but not limited to, HIV/Aids prevention, care and treatment, and/or HIV-related policy development and advocacy.
On his part, Wainaina said KHBC strives to mobilise the private sector in the country to control and reduce the impact of HIV/Aids in the workplace and the community at large.
He said KHBC aims at creating awareness through advocacy at senior management level, assisting businesses set up HIV/Aids workplace programmes, and providing technical support, policy guidance and leadership in all programmes aimed at reducing the effect of the disease.
In Kenya, like in other African countries, the proportion of firms having workplace HIV/Aids programs rises prorpotinately to the size of the firm.
KHBC expressed concern over the situation given that SMEs employ a vast majority of Kenyans.
Wainaina said although the SMEs are willing to start up HIV/Aids workplace programmes, they however face the challenge of resources mobilisation.
He said the Merck’s grant will enable the Kenya HIV/Aids Private Sector Business Council to mount advocacy for senior managers of 50 some SMEs companies in Kenya and help them set up workplace programmes.
Out of these, five companies will be selected to be involved in the pilot phase of the implementation of the MSD HIV Blueprint for Business Action against HIV/Aids, a tool that will guide companies on setting up HIV workplace programme.