Steamships combat TB discrimination in workplace

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 09th November 2011

THE Steamships Group of Companies has signed documents to raise awareness and combat discrimination of tuberculosis in its workplace.
In a ceremony last Friday at its head office in downtown Port Moresby, chief operations officer Tom Owen said the signing of the policy was to solidify the initiative they had taken in partnering with the national TB programme in not only raising awareness among their staff and reducing stigmatisation in regard to the disease but to show their commitment to their most valuable asset – their staff.
Owen said this was to create a positive working environment free of discrimination and dismissal on the grounds of being infected with TB.
The TB workplace policy is in partnership with World Vision and the Department of Health to combat tuberculosis and reduce stigmatisation in the workplace.
They have already trained 40 staff, 20 in Lae and 20 in Port Moresby under World Vision as treatment support officers to identify and administer treatment to employees in the workplace.
 “According to the National Department of Health, PNG has the highest TB prevalence rate in the Pacific region with 16,000 new cases recorded a year,” he said.
Owen said tuberculosis was as infectious and as deadly as the high profile HIV/AIDS epidemic that was rampant in the country.
They believed that as a long-term player in the Papua New Guinea economy and society, it placed on them a great degree of responsibility towards the people and the communities where they operated.
He hoped that as one of the larger private sector employers in the country, the impact it could have throughout the country by implementing this workplace policy would be significant and set an example for others.