Atuabo Freeport Ghana Limited and the UNAIDS have signed an agreement for UNAIDS to carry out the company’s HIV/AIDS awareness programme as it prepares to build its oil services terminal at Atuabo in the Western Region.
The company says the HIV/AIDS campaign is particularly important because the project is likely to attract migrant workers, traders and fisher-folk to the project area — who may engage in unprotected sex.
The MoU, valid for five years, will enable the two parties to collaborate in HIV/AIDS sensitisation programmes for communities near the project area, the development of a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS, and the provision of a medical facility for HIV/AIDS testing, treatment and counselling among others.
At the signing ceremony in Accra, Steven Gray, Development Manager of the company, said such projects attract people from all walks of life to nearby communities, and that it is imperative for the company to empower communities to understand the challenges that may arise.
In 1952, he said, Tema was just a small fishing community, but today it has developed to become a large industrial area; a situation he foresees for Atuabo in the future.
UNAIDS representative in Ghana Dr. Girmay Haile praised the company for the partnership, and urged other companies to do well by adopting a workplace HIV/AIDS policy.
He said gains made in Ghana could be rolled-back by low condom use in the country as well as people’s unwillingness to test and know their HIV/AIDS status, among other factors.