Zimbabwe launches policy to protect rights of HIV infected and affected educators
Workplace Policy developed to guide, direct and strengthen implementation of HIV and AIDS programmes in institutions of higher learning. The ground-breaking, first of its kind policy in Zimbabwe helps to protect the rights and interests of employees within the ministry of higher learning.
On 9 December, 2009, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education supported by the UNESCO office in Harare and in collaboration with the Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO launched the Work Place Policy on HIV and AIDS for use by education staff at all levels in the ministry.
The aim of the policy is to guide and direct the process of dealing with HIV and AIDS issues in the workplace within the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education by providing a framework in which the ministry as the leader, staff association representatives and members should design, implement, monitor and evaluate practical and effective HIV and AIDS programmes at the workplace in each institution. The policy conveys a culture of caring and compassion necessary to encourage openness, consistency and equity in dealing with HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.
The policy is expected to assist the education sector in the following specific ways:
- Preventing further HIV infection
- Ensure recognition of HIV and AIDS issues in the workplace
- Create a supportive environment for HIV infected and affected personnel and learners
- Protect the rights of all employees infected and affected by the epidemic.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy is the ministry’s contribution to the national multi-sectoral response to HIV and AIDS. The development of this policy was guided by the Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2006-2010. It is hoped that the policy will contribute to the reducing HIV prevalence and new infections and will lead to more coordination in all areas prevention, treatment, care and support in the higher and tertiary education sector.
Representatives from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, UNESCO, sister UN agencies, National AIDS Council, Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO, teachers’ unions and civil society attended the launch.