Margherita Licata and Kofi Amekudzi, Technical Specialists ILOAIDS
The more we learn about the challenges of responding to the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa, the easier it becomes to discern parallels to the HIV epidemic — another health crisis , which we’ve been battling for over 30 years now. The HIV response has some valuable lessons for the way we confront the disease in general, particularly in the workplace. Here’s an example.
About four years ago, we were working in southern Malawi with the ILO Programme for HIV/AIDS on a project targeting workers at the Lujeri Tea Estate. Though the rate of new infections has slowed, Malawi still has some of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, affecting one in every four people who lives there.
Dennis Zulu, Chief Program Officer, ILO Office for Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
When news of the first cases of the Ebola outbreak started filtering out of Guinea and Sierra Leone in late 2013, it received little media attention—even here in West Africa. The affected villages were so remote that most people assumed it would be easy to contain.
As someone who travels frequently to Freetown (Sierra Leone), I took a special interest in the news. The village of Kenema, now thought to be the epicentre of the outbreak, was formerly the site of an ILO development project.
The room was filled with about 50 excited Liberian youth, all sporting white T-shirts with the inscription “Graduate” printed on the back.
The young women and men had completed three-month apprenticeships with enterprises in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. For many of them, this was the first time in their lives that they had received any form of training, let alone a certificate.
And many had hopes their new skills would open the door to a bright future. Continue reading →