Cos Gear Up To Tackle HIV/AIDS

New Delhi, May 22: | Updated: May 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
Recognising the importance of tackling Human Immuno deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in organisations, proactive companies have now started drawing up Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS. Taking the lead are Tata group companies, Reliance Industries, Ranbaxy, Indian Oil Corporation, Escorts, Apollo Tyres, RPG Enterprise and Modicare.

India has an estimated 4.24 million people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of November 2002. About 88.6 percentage of such cases are reported from the most productive age group of 15-44, which is a major concern for the Indian companies.

According to a list prepared by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci), at least 30 Indian companies are active in implementing workplace policies on HIV/AIDS. The list also includes Godrej, Larsen & Toubro, Glaxo India, Mukund, Mahindra & Mahindra, Eveready, Hero Honda Motors, Krupp Industries, Hindustan Construction, Castrol India, ICCL, Cadbury India, Marico and ABB.

Modicare is another company that has set an example. It has established the Modicare Foundation to spread awareness amongst companies. We have conducted workshops for organisations like Surya and Parkroyal hotels and Nike, motivating them to implement the policy.

A similar project for Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has been undertaken by the Foundation recently, Modicare managing director Samir Modi told FE.

Further, Tata Tea Ltd, which has already put in place a policy on HIV/AIDS, plans to take the lead to start the Indian Business Council of AIDS, which will involve the non-Tata group companies. According to a World Economic Forum (WEF) case study of Tata Tea (as an example of global health initiative), the Tata group plans to standardise the various workplace interventions on HIV/AIDS within its five top group companies.

Tata Tea Ltd, which owns 55 tea estates with a workforce of 59,000, has a model Workplace HIV/AIDS Policy. The policy has been adopted keeping in view the future impact of HIV/AIDS on its huge manpower resources. Tata Tea, being an agro-based industry, is dependent on its huge manpower to sustain its operations.

Some Indian companies have also joined hands at the global level to tackle the issue. Ranbaxy, Bajaj Auto, Modicare, RPG Enterprise, SRF and TISCO are amongst 50 members of the Global Business Coalition (GBC) on HIV/AIDS.

GBC advocates implementation of comprehensive workplace programmes covering, non-discriminatory policies, prevention education, access to voluntary counselling, care, support and treatment. GBC chairman and the chairman of the board of management of DaimlerChrysler Juergen E Schrempp believes that the efforts of corporate world is significant in containing HIV/AIDS menace. I have no doubt that we are best able to meet this immense challenge through dynamic and effective workplace programmes such as those developed and promoted by the GBC in concert with its members, he said in a recent message to GBC.

Ranbaxy, which has a comprehensive HIV/AIDS policy, is also involved in developing and marketing HIV/AIDS-related medicines. Ranbaxy has always been at the forefront in addressing the healthcare needs by providing cost-effective and quality medicines. To address the growing menace of HIV around the world, Ranbaxy has pledged to serve a large part of the global demand of Anti-Retrovirals (ARVs), a Ranbaxy official said.

Ficcis Socio-Economic Development Foundation in association with International Labour Organisation (ILO) is organising a one-day workshop on Sensitisation of Industrialists/CEOs on HIV/AIDS as a Workplace Issue in the Capital on May 27, 2003. Apollo Tyres will make a presentation on its experience on implementation of the policy in the company, a Ficci official said.