Any worker at the Freetown Cold Storage Company (FCSC) infected with HIV/AIDS would receive 100% funding and support from the company.
This was disclosed over the weekend by the General Manager Eric Djibo of the company who was addressing staff and spouses in a HIV/AIDS prevention care and support confab at the Grassroots Gender and Empowerment Movement (GGEM) hall at John Street in Freetown.
The General Manager added that they had spent $30,000 in raising awareness within the communities about HIV/AIDS.
He noted that, “the diseases can slow down development of each continent”, adding that, “in March 2003 the FCSC expanded its health care benefits, which includes HIV/AIDS”.
Mr Djibo maintained that they also provided for their employees with awareness raising, care and support project which included the provision of anti retroviral drugs.
He informed the gathering that FCSC was very happy to fund and support the confab.
In his statement the chairman of the occasion Health Education and Communications Officer at the National AIDS Secretariat, Abubakarr Koroma, said FCSC was the first company to take the lead in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
He added that it was the policy of the company not to sack any worker who would be infected or living with the disease, noting that workers were very crucial people in the company and their welfare must be secured.
Mr Koroma also encouraged the company to work with them in the fight against this killer disease and admonished participants to pass on the information to the public.
In his statement UNICEF consultant HIV/AIDS Unit, Joseph Sinnah, said “the fight against the disease is not a one man business but should involve every body”.
“AIDS”, he said, “does not discriminate; it can affect any body irrespective of your age, tribe, religion or cultural practices”.
Giving his presentation James King, FCSC’s HIV/AIDS Coordinator, said the objectives of the workshop was to promote dissemination of HIV/AIDS messages among peers and other communities members and also to motivate staff members and spouses to fully utilize VCCT services being offered by the company.
Citing the situation analysis of HIV/AIDS in Sierra Leone, Moi Tenga Sartie from NAS disclosed that, “in 1987 the first case of HIV/AIDS was diagnosed in the country from one Sierra Leonean who got the disease from his girl friend while he was studying in Russian”.
He also taught participants the causes of the disease, how to prevent it and the ways and means people might get into contact with HIV/AIDS.