UHURU PUBLICATIONS LIMITED
UPL HIV POLICY –DRAFT FORM
1.0 INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE HIV AND AIDSSTATUS IN TANZANIA
1.1In Tanzania, like any country in the world and particularly so in the developing countries, the threat of HIV and AIDS epidemic to human life and economic development in a reality. Since in 1983 when the first case of HIV virus infection was reported the epidemic has spread rapidly in the country causing many deaths in thousands let alone millions of people who have been infected and living with the virus. The people infected by HIV and AIDS epidemic have mostly been the young and the productive ones including those at many work places in the country hence posing a serious threat to social-economic development.
1.2A number of researches have been conducted in the country to establish the impact of the epidemic on human life and economic development. The results have all established and pointed out clearly on the seriousness of the pandemic as the figures tell it all. In 2003 it is reported that about 160,000Tanzanianslost their lives because of HIV and AIDS. Recent reports indicate that the prevalence rate (people living with the disease) of HIV and AIDS in Tanzania is 8.8% which is among the highest in the Sub-Saharan African region. At the moment Tanzania has a population of about 40 million people.
1.3According to report released in 2009 by Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) 80 percent of HIV and AIDS infection in Tanzania is through unprotected heterosexual intercourse. The epidemic is also spread through other methods, although to a lesser extent compared to the first one, which include mother to child transmission, blood transfusion, unsafe injections or traditional practices such as female genital cutting or male circumcision.
1.4According to Tanzania Demographic Health survey (TDHS) and the Tanzania HIV-AIDS Indicator Survey (THIS) made from 2003 to 2005, the leading cause of the epidemic is risky sexual behaviour that is one having a number of partners and not using condoms.
1.5High levels of poverty among people in Tanzania society are also to blame. Studies in Tanzania as elsewhere in Sub-Saharan African region have showed that women use sex as a way of survival.
1.6There have been various national efforts to control the spread of HIV and AIDS in Tanzania. This has involved the government itself, both governmental and non-governmental institutions; and the media. The main strategy in these efforts has been the emphasis on public education for the prevention of HIV transmission and its management. Despite the national efforts stigma and discrimination are still rife in society making it difficult to manage the epidemic. And, for majority of workplaces including a number of Tanzanian media houses it is difficult to find HIV and AIDS policies.
1.7It has also been acknowledged that the coverage of HIV and AIDS in most of the Tanzanian media is very low. Recent reports on HIV and AIDS news coverage on Tanzania’s media reveal that only two per cent of stories in all media focus on the HIV and AIDS issues.
1.8It is from this background that it is of utmost importance that media organisations (UPL being one of them), capable of delivering public education on HIV and AIDS to the society should have a policy to that effect leave alone the fact that is important media houses to have such policies to enable tem manage the scourge in their own ‘compounds’.
2.0 AIMS OF UPL HIV AND AIDSPOLICY
2.1This policy aims at providing guidelines on how UPL will address HIV and AIDS epidemic at the work place on the issues of prevention, care, control and promotion of public health to workers living with HIV and AIDS; and on the role to be played by the company, as a media house, in the fight against the epidemic in the country.
3.0 BRIEF UPL PROFILE
3.1Uhuru Publications Limited (UPL) is owned by the ruling party, CCM. UPL publishes three newspapers- UHURU, MZALENDO and BURUDANI. UHURU is a daily paper while MZALENDO and BURUDANI are weekly papers. UHURU is the oldest paper in Tanzania having been established at the day of independence that is on 9th December, 1961.
3.2UPL formerly Shirika la Magazeti ya Chama Limited (SMC LTD) was incorporated as a private company, limited by shares under the company’s ordinance (cap.212) on 21st July 1966. The company has been changing names – from Mwananchi Publishing (1966) Limited, the Shirika la Magazeti ya chama Ltd to the present name –Uhuru Publication Ltd.
3.3The main policy making organ of the company in the Board of Directors appointed by CCM. The day to day activities are the responsibility of the management that is the Managing Editor (Who is the company’s chief executive officer) assisted by four heads of departments-The Deputy Managing Editor (who heads the Editorial department); The Personnel Administration Manager (who heads the Personnel and Administration department); the Business Manager (who heads the Business department); and the accountant (who heads the Finance department).
3.4At present UPL has a total of 79 employees (52 men and 27 women).
4.0 UPL HIV AND AIDSPOLICY PROCESS AND FRAMEWORK
4.1This policy is part of Media Action Plan on HIV and AIDS and Gender as envisaged by southern African Editors Forum. The leading organisations in this policy sector are Gender Links and MISA-TAN, UPL HIV and AIDS policy is a product of many consultations and discussions at UPL management level at which workers were represented by senior leaders of their trade organisation (RAAWU). The Policy making body of UPL which is the Board of Directors endorsed this policy at its meeting held on October 26, 2008.
4.2The framework within which this policy has been developed is guided by The HIV and AIDS (prevention and control) act, 2007; The Employment and Labour Relations Act, 2004; and The National Policy on HIV and AIDS by Tanzania commission of AIDS (TACAIDS) all of which provide guidelines on issues of management, prevention, treatment, stigma, discrimination, workplace etc.
5.0 POLICY STATEMENTS
5.1 GENERAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
5.1.1An employee shall not be compelled to undergo HIV testing and that HIV testing shall not be a pre-requisite to accessing employment, training or promotion opportunities.
5.1.2Employees will not be forced to undergo voluntary HIV testing. However the company will educate and encourage employees to voluntarily to undergo HIV and AIDS testing and wherever possible to discuss their status.
5.1.3The company shall ensure that any employee living with HIV and AIDSvirus is accorded with special allowance to the tune of T.shs. 150,000/- per month to enable him/her to meet basic medical and health services requirements. In any case the company shall ensure that employees infected with HIV and AIDS have access to retro vial drugs and information concerning the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
5.1.4Any employee living with HIV and AIDS shall have an obligation to protect others from infection.
5.1.5Any act by any employee who willfully and intentionally transmits HIV to any other person will be taken to be a gross misconduct that will be dealt with according to the company’s disciplinary code of conduct.
5.2.1The HIV and AIDS status to an employee is confidential. The management will observe absolute confidentiality in the handling of all medical information and documents and particularly the identity and status of employees living with HIV and AIDS, and will ensure that all employees rights and privacy and dignity are respected, particularly where any employee does not choose to disclose her/his HIV and AIDS status.
5.2.2Unauthorised disclosure of an employee’sHIV and AIDS related information is disciplinary offence which will be dealt with according to the company’s disciplinary code of conduct.
5.3 STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION
5.3.1Stigma and discrimination against employees with HIV and AIDS virus: The company or an official or an employee shall not stigmatise in any manner any other employee on the grounds of such other employee’s actual, perceived or suspected HIV and AIDS status.
5.3.2The company or any official of employee shall not discriminate any person to right of participation of company’s activities on the grounds of such other person’s actual, perceived or suspected HIV and AIDS status.
5.4WORK PLACE ENVIRONMENT
5.4.1The company shall have the duty of providing a safe and healthy working environment and by so doing promoting employee awareness on causes, modes of transmission, prevention and control of HIV and AIDS.
5.4.2The company shall establish and coordinate programmes on HIV and AIDS for all employees and such programmes shall include provision of HIV and AIDS education through display of posters and pamphlets within company premises, in-house seminars on HIV and AIDS; and distribution of condoms to employees.
6.0 EDITORIAL PRACTICE
6.1The company undertakes to ensure that there is an increase of HIV and AIDS stories and features in the newspapers published by UPL.In the implementation of this resolve there shall be a minimum of five stories and feature articles on HIV and AIDS per week in the newspapers owned by UPL.
6.2The company shall provide training for editors and reporters on the linkages between HIV and AIDS and other related issues such as gender, youth, culture etc.
6.3Advertisements from the institutions-both government and non-governmental – will be advertised at a reduced price and there shall be special spaces allocated to HIV and AIDS on complimentary basis.
6.4Language that promotes stigma and discrimination in news stories and feature articles on HIV and AIDS shall be prohibited.