Efforts to provide land and housing management services to the public have over the years been affected by the effects of HIV and Aids in workplaces, Minster of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Bright Msaka revealed on Friday.
Speaking during his Ministry’s HIV and Aids Prevention Awareness Open Day under the theme: “Preventing a Further Spread of HIV in the Workplace and Mitigating the Impact” held at the Ministry’s headquarters in Lilongwe, Msaka said, the scourge has not been without effect on the ministry as it has been seen by staff’s deaths, absenteeism and vacancy rates.
“This has not affected the ministry only but also a largest employer in the land, the government which has suffered the largest toll like increasing costs due to deaths, increased absenteeism as a result of illness that affect productivity, medical bills and worsening morale among civil servants due to the pandemics,” said Msaka.
He added that the pandemic has damaged the country’s social and economic fabric, and how families that are pillars of human race have been torn apart as the epidemic has plucked out breadwinners, leaving resource poor communities struggling to cope up with a growing number of orphans
The Minister further said his ministry developed an HIV and Aids Strategic Plan for 2013 to 2017 to guide interventions aimed at addressing the challenges that have come with the pandemic at his ministry.
“The plan seeks to prevent further transmission of HIV amongst the staff , their spouses, clients and surrounding communities where staff from technical departments often spend days”.
Deputy Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development also Coordinator for HIV and Aids at the Ministry, Eunice Chipangula said a health workforce is a catalyst to development, the Ministry will therefore live no storn unturned to see to it that the staffs are health.
“As a Ministry, we have not been spared with the pandemic due to the nature of work which is mostly field work and put them at risk,” she said.
She therefore urged the staff to rise up and defeat the challenges that have come due to the pandemic.