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WORKERS’

HEALTH
NETWORK
NEWS
November 2013  Issue 2
Workers’ Health Network News™
is a joint project of the partnership
between the Canadian Labour
Congress (CLC) and the
International Trade Union
Confederation for the Africa
region (ITUC-Africa)
that aims to grow and
strengthen a global
network of activists.
In this issue
Is Africa making progress on health?
• Exclusive interview with Dr Marie-Goretti Harakeye – African Union
Head of HIV, TB, Malaria and other Infectious Diseases
• Report-back from Abuja+12
• The Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS,
TB and Malaria Response in Africa
Also . . .
 Updates on generics, trials regulation, the Global Fund
 New evidence on gender-based violence and on the lack of sex education
for youth in Latin America
 News from unions on collective bargaining, networks of positive workers,
and the Nigeria Labour Congress VCT campaign
and more…
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November 2013  Issue 2
IS AFRICA MAKING
PROGRESS ON HEALTH?

From May through July 2013, a series of high level
meetings took place setting the course for Africa’s AIDS
strategy for the foreseeable future. In May the African
Union Accountability report on Africa–G8 partnership
commitments, 2013, was released just prior to the
African Union’s 50th Anniversary Summit. The report
carried the message that the Africa and G8 partnership
has delivered unprecedented progress, but the
financial crisis has resulted in declining international
investments, exposed the insecurity of external funding
and jeopardized the sustainability of recent health
gains.
The accountability report was a reminder that, with a
few notable exceptions, the G8’s collective commitment
to end AIDS has stalled since the end of the last decade
— as Robert Lovelace, WHNnews™ co-editor, and
Gemma Oberth, Senior Researcher at the Cape Town-
based AIDS Accountability International, wrote in the
Huffington Post.
Optimism for a better G8 outcome may have been one
of the reasons prompting Nigerian President Goodluck
Jonathan’s offer to host the AU Heads of State at the
Abuja +12 Summit in July. Despite the failure of the G8
to show any signs of a renewed commitment, African
leaders adopted the Declaration of the Special Summit
of African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria: “Abuja Actions towards the Elimination of HIV
and AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in Africa by 2030
— perhaps another sign that African countries are on
the path to shared responsibility.
African countries cannot travel this path alone without
risking the reversal of hard won progress. Hopefully,
wealthy countries will show their solidarity at the
Fourth Replenishment of the Global Fund to fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria in Washington, DC, this
December.
Abuja +12 Special Summit:
What were the outcomes for health
in Africa?
Reflections by David Onyalo, Canadian Labour Congress
The African Union Special Summit on HIV/AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria was held in July in Abuja,
Nigeria. Along with heads of state and other African
leaders, three trade union activists attended: Maureen
Chinelo Onyia of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Yahya
Msangi of ITUC-Africa and David Onyalo of the
Canadian Labour Congress.
Twelve years earlier, in April 2001, the leaders of
African Union Member States had also gathered in
Abuja, where they called for accelerated action on
health and adopted the Abuja Declaration on HIV/
AIDS, Tuberculosis and other Related Infectious Diseases.
The primary objective was for Africa to collectively
and individually work to reverse the spread of these
infectious diseases. The leaders also pledged to
dedicate at least 15% of their annual budget to improve
the health sector.
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November 2013  Issue 2
The purpose of the 2013 Summit was to review
progress on the Declaration and its framework for
action and to plan for health post-2015, once the
Millennium Development Goals have run their course.
In addition to the 2001 Declaration Assessment Report,
key documents considered at the Summit were:
• the Abuja+ 12 Call for Global Support for the Shared
Responsibility and Global Solidarity Roadmap for
investment in HIV, TB and Malaria response; and

• the Africa position on the post-2015 development
agenda dialogue.
The union delegation held sidebar discussions with
Nigerian government officials and representatives of
the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).
During meetings with ILOAIDS and UNAIDS officials,
they discussed African regional AIDS initiatives and
ways to scale up trade union work in West Africa,
including holding a consultation in Nigeria in spring
2014.
What was the assessment of the union
delegation?
The trade unionists had mixed reactions. They found
it positive that African governments believe fighting
AIDS is important enough to warrant a special summit
of heads of state. It was encouraging to hear African
leaders highlight the need to mobilize more domestic
resources to support health systems. On the other
hand they noted that only two governments to date
have implemented their 2001 Abuja commitments.
‘’I was excited that African heads of states were
coming to Nigeria for a meeting on HIV/AIDS,
but was disappointed when most of them praised
themselves without making much commitment on
future work. They didn’t seem perturbed they were
not meeting their promises in Abuja 12 years ago.
I want African leaders to take the lead in making
financial commitment on HIV/AIDS so that we can
campaign for more donor/foreign contribution.’’
Maureen Chinelo Onyia, Head Occupational Health and Safety
Department, Nigeria Labour Congress
“I was very disappointed that the Summit provided
a forum for self–praising, even for those whose
personal behaviour has contributed to promoting
attitudes counter to HIV prevention. Such statements
from leaders who marry young girls on an annual
basis, and who have critically failed to allocate 15%
of their national budgets as promised in the Abuja
Declaration of 2001, saddened me deeply. Is there
real political commitment from our African leaders?”
Yahya Msangi, Regional Coordinator of Occupational Safety,
Health and Environment, ITUC Africa
“We desperately need an African head of state to
step forward as a Champion in the fight against
HIV\AIDS. Highly visible leadership has made a
difference. At the Abuja +12 Summit many boasted
about the policies of their governments but I did not
hear passionate pleas for collective action.”
David Onyalo, International Department, Canadian Labour
Congress
Key Players at Abuja+12:
Dr. Marie-Goretti Harakeye
WHNnews™
interviews Dr Marie-
Goretti Harakeye,
Head of HIV, TB,
Malaria and other
Infectious Diseases in
the Social Affairs
Commission of the
African Union
These are selected comments – the full interview is on
pages 9-11.
Dr. Harakeye, do you think that the African Union
Summit and the Abuja +12 Special Summit have
opened a new chapter in the African response to
infectious disease?
The Abuja Summit came at a time when leadership
commitment is very high and significant progress has
been made in AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria responses,
notably in the last decade. What the meetings achieved
is to renew and sustain that commitment and turn
it into action. Concrete actions that African leaders
and various development partners will prioritize are:
to accelerate implementation of the earlier “Abuja
Commitments,” step up the mobilization of domestic
resources to strengthen health systems, and ensure
that strategies are in place for diversified, balanced
and sustainable financing for health, in particular AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria.
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November 2013  Issue 2
How do you assess the progress made in the last
few months?
There has been a strong impetus on the whole
continent in the last few months to diversify and
expand the sources of funding for health generally, and
for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria specifically. These
efforts to reduce dependence on unpredictable funding
from a few external funders towards home-grown
African solutions is clearly articulated in the African
Union Roadmap. …
How can trade unions advocate more effectively
with business and with government to ensure
their inclusion in planning and implementing ac-
tion at the workplace and more generally?
Trade unions have an enviable history of taking action
to promote the human rights, dignity and health of
workers. It is now well known that the workplace
has vast potential for limiting the damaging effects of
the three epidemics. … To be effective trade unions
should utilize their comparative advantage to advocate
for inclusion of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria on the
table within the tripartite negotiating forums with
governments and the private sector.
The power of trade unions lie in the fact that actions
are not only the actions of individual men and women.
They are the organized responses of groups of workers.
30 YEARS OF AIDS IN AFRICA
A special UNAIDS report, UPDATE, marks Africa’s journey to a
shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination
and zero AIDS-related deaths. The report is a go-to source to
understand Africa’s AIDS response.
UPDATE illustrates that while domestic spending on AIDS almost
doubled from 2008-2011, international assistance remains a crucial
lifeline for many countries. In 35 countries across Africa, donor
support accounts for more than half of the current AIDS response
investments.
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA) tells Nigeria’s Daily Trust that, “More
than 90% of treatment of AIDS in Africa is still funded from external
sources. That introduces a sense of insecurity in my view. Shared
responsibility is something we have to do.”
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November 2013  Issue 2
SHARED RESPONSIBILITY:
PROGRESS IN THE FIRST
YEAR
The job is not finished, but Africa’s progress in
responding to AIDS, TB and malaria shows how
Africa’s leaders are launching a wave of sustainable
global health strategies distinguished by their African-
sourced solutions. “African leadership is the elusive
magic bullet that has irrevocably changed the course
of the three diseases and now can do even more,” said
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.
Their plan is laid out in the Roadmap on Shared
Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and
Malaria Response in Africa. The Roadmap, adopted last
July, charts a new course for the continent’s response
to the three diseases. A first year progress report was
released in time for the AU summit.
Progress on the Roadmap’s first pillar—reduce
dependence on external funders—has been made
in a number of countries by implementing innovative
AIDS financing measures. Zimbabwe and Kenya now
earmark a portion of domestic tax revenues for an
AIDS Trust Fund, while Benin, Congo, Madagascar, Mali,
Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda, and Uganda have put in place
special HIV levies on mobile phone usage or airfares.
South Africa has reduced spending on antiretroviral
medications by 53% by increasing competition among
suppliers.
Global Fund Executive Director, Dr. Mark Dybul,
congratulated the leaders for taking these steps since
sustained leadership commitment is key to ensuring
that AIDS, TB and malaria become diseases of the past.
“We have a moment of historic greatness, and if we all
work together with a sense of shared responsibility and
coordinated action, we will defeat these diseases,” he
said.
Partnerships are forming to expand the availability
of affordable HIV treatment, a key goal of the
second pillar of the Roadmap. These include the
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa Business
Plan, which aims to scale up local drug manufacturing,
and the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization
Programme that will help regulate drug quality and
delivery systems to prevent loss of lives due to unsafe
or unavailable treatment.
The third pillar—improving leadership,
governance, and oversight—has been the aim of
a series of high-level meetings across the continent
over the past 12 months to reaffirm the urgency of
the AIDS, TB and Malaria responses on the African
agenda. Countries including Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and
South Africa have also integrated HIV programming
and oversight into their general health infrastructure,
streamlining disease coordination and governance.
GLOBAL HEALTH ISSUES
Tracking Post-2015 Agenda Activities
The UN Special Event to take stock of Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) progress also kicks off the
process of finalizing the post-2015 agenda. Efforts to
shape the development agenda in a post-MDG world
have been underway for several years, but now enter
a phase when multiple issues must be pared down to
priorities.
Post-2015 Policy & Practice is sure to be an invaluable
resource for groups engaged in the process. With
its calendar of events, daily news, updates on the
actions of key actors, guest opinions as well as a wide
range of publications and resources, the website and
knowledge base is a one-stop shop for those following
the Post-2015 discussions. The site was launched
and is maintained by the International Institute for
Sustainable Development (IISD) Reporting Services
with funding provided by the Japanese Ministry of
Environment and the Swiss Agency for Development
and Cooperation.
Are Generics Gaining the Upper Hand?
In South Africa, the answer is a definite maybe. On
September 9, treatment rights groups hailed a
government draft intellectual property policy for
its potential far-reaching effects for pharmaceutical
patents as a move towards lower medicine costs. South
Africa’s Mail & Guardian (September 10) reports that
according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the policy “will
set the stage for changes that promise to increase
competition in the pharmaceutical sector and lower the
price of medicines in South Africa,” the group said in a
statement. However, according to the M&G report, the
policy could take years to finalize.
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November 2013  Issue 2
Under current law, firms can renew patents indefinitely
by changing minute elements in a medicine’s
composition, a process known as “evergreening.”
Critics such as TAC contend that with current policies it
is too easy for companies to win patents on drugs and
that pharmaceutical companies can “evergreen” their
patents for too long, keeping competitors at bay and
prices high.
India’s Amended Trials Regulations:
What is the Impact?
Changes to trials regulations in India, designed to
improve patient safety, have caused some research
funders to halt their clinical work in the country. The
fate of India’s thriving clinical trials industry hangs
in the balance after amendments aimed to regulate
clinical trials in the country were introduced 8 months
ago. According to The Lancet, researchers in India
believe the changes were introduced in haste without
gathering opinions from all stakeholders in government
and non-governmental organizations.
Trading Away Health?
The U.S. and eleven other Pacific Rim nations are
negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new
trade regime which is slated to expand to all 21 Asia
Pacific APEC nations. It’s business as usual—meaning
the trade talks are being held in secret. Still, Médecins
Sans Frontières’ (MSF) has uncovered a major push to
cut off the lifeline provided by generic medicines, which
is masquerading as an effort to defend intellectual
property (IP) rights. The MSF Access Campaign
contends that the TPP is on track to set a damaging
precedent affecting many developing countries by
tipping the balance between public health interests and
IP demands.
For general information on IP issues in health see, for
example, the 2008 WHO Global Strategy and Plan of
Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual
Property.
Global Fund Allies: Pay Now or Pay
Later
The September 17, 2013, issue of the Global Fund News
Flash reminds readers that only a short time remains
before the Fourth Replenishment Conference will be
getting underway to secure funds for 2014-2016. As
we go to press, no firm December date has been set, but
Washington, DC, has been established as the venue.
The critical message to donors—there is a tremendous
cost for failing to act. Without aggressive investment
to defeat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, we will likely
face staggering costs in the years ahead, both in
human lives and in money. To highlight this message,
advocates for the Global Fund released a report called
The Cost of Inaction. Advocates can also download a
handy guide to the report’s key messages.
Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund,
told a teleconference of partners and journalists, “The
investments of the last ten years have the diseases on
the run, but they are running into pockets, and in those
pockets is where they are getting a foothold from which
they can begin to come back.”
The Cost of Inaction report says timely investments
could prevent 3.9 million new HIV infections during
the 2014-2016 period, potentially saving up to US$47
billion in extra treatment costs over the lifetimes of the
people affected.
The Global Fund has set a Fourth Replenishment
target of raising US$15 billion. The Cost of Inaction
also estimates that timely funding for malaria would
prevent more than 430 million additional malaria cases
and increase annual GDP in Africa by more than US$20
billion over five years, as well as saving 196,000 lives
per year.
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November 2013  Issue 2
Lucy Chesire, a Kenya-based TB and HIV advocate
who represents communities affected by the three
diseases, spoke of “the joy and hope” the Global Fund
had brought to communities across Africa since it was
established. She said the choice before donors is clear:
Invest now or pay forever.
Nordic Countries: Big Bucks for the
Global Fund
Five Nordic countries announced pledges of $750
million for the Fourth Replenishment of the Global
Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,
according to Global Fund Observer. The countries are
Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Each
country’s parliament must still grant final approval.
A Global Fund news release says the pledges are $150
million more than previously donated amounts. The
announcement coincided with a Stockholm meeting
of the five country’s leaders and U.S. President Barack
Obama during a stopover visit prior to the G20 in St.
Petersburg, Russia. “This funding will leverage $375
million from the U.S. challenge pledge of $1 for every $2
donated,” according to the news release. The pledges
unlock more U.S. money since federal laws bar giving
more than one-third of total contributions to the Global
Fund.
Stop Rape Before It Happens!
Yet another wake-up call about rampant gender-based
violence and violations of women’s rights can be found
in a study published in the September 10, 2013, issue
of the Lancet. A research team studying the prevalence
of and reasons for rape in six Asia-Pacific countries
found that rape of women in marriage was much more
prevalent than non-partner rape.
The study focused on Bangladesh, China, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka, adding to
the evidence collected in South Africa—the only other
major population-based study of rape. This lack of
global evidence is a good indicator of the low priority
given to rape and other forms of gender-based violence.
Among other findings—in most countries and sites—
the number of men admitting to raping a woman
ranged between one in five and one in eight; although,
in Papua New Guinea this proportion was higher.
Comparable research from South Africa showed that
more than one in four men had committed rape.
The authors conclude: “This study emphasizes the
importance of prevention of rape perpetration before
it is committed, especially through interventions in
childhood and adolescence. Complex approaches are
needed, including structural interventions to reduce
poverty, support better parenting, reduce exposure
to child abuse, and build more gender-equitable
masculinity ideals. Additionally, interventions at
the society level are needed to strengthen laws and
criminal justice responses to rape.”
See the article on gender-based violence and HIV—
“Time to break the link”— in Agenda: challenging HIV/
AIDS in transport. Soon to follow is an International
Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) toolkit on
countering gender-based violence for trade unions.
Learn what you can do by visiting the website for the
global call for action: Say NO—UNiTE to End Violence
against Women.
Latin America’s Youth Face Hurdles to
Jobs and Safe Sex
U.N. Special Envoy on youth, Ahmad Alhendawi
An Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency report
highlights how inadequate educational systems in Latin
America and the Caribbean fuel inequalities, access to
the labour market and learning about safe sex for many
of the region’s youth.
More than a quarter of the region’s 600 million
people are between 15 and 29 years old. Inadequate
education fuels youth unemployment and fails to
promote life skills. Marcela Suazo, Regional Director
of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) notes,
“Sex education is missing from the national curriculum
in many public schools.”
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November 2013  Issue 2
About half of the sexually active young people in the
region have never used any form of birth control, and
an estimated 20% of the region’s children were born to
mothers under 20 years old.
Limited sexual and reproductive rights of young
women in Latin America directly affect their chances
of finishing school and avoiding poverty. In this region,
between 15 and 40 percent of young women say their
first sexual experience was forced, while nearly 30
percent of adolescent girls are married before the age
of 18. A focus on girls’ education would help delay first
pregnancy and expand the work and life choices of
young women.
The U.N. Secretary General’s special envoy on youth,
Ahmad Alhendawi, stressed, “The education system
is not equipping young people with the skills and the
knowledge that they need to enter the labour market.
This mismatch is daunting and shrinking young
people’s chances to get decent job opportunities.”
WORTH NOTING
The End of Poverty?
President Jim Kim reiterated the World Bank Group’s
commitment to reduce poverty worldwide during the
October 2013 Group meeting. The Group’s strategy has
two ambitious goals:
• End absolute poverty by reducing the percentage of
people living on less than $1.25 a day to 3 percent
by 2030.
• Promote shared prosperity by fostering income
growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population
in every country.
“The two goals emphasize the importance of economic
growth, inclusion and sustainability—including
strong concerns for equity. Economic growth that
creates good jobs requires action to strengthen both
the private and public sectors. Inclusion entails
empowering all citizens to participate in, and benefit
from, the development process... Sustainability ensures
that today’s development progress is not reversed
tomorrow … [or] flag in the future. This broad agenda
requires actions at the country, regional, and global
levels.”
A time-bound commitment is welcome, as is the
reference to managing climate change. The Group’s
focus on inclusion and equity are more than welcome,
but why not include a goal to promote equality and
reduce the ever-widening income gaps within and
between countries? By failing to set a goal and outline
an implementation strategy, the rhetoric rings empty.
“Why is the World Bank not walking their talk on
inequality?” asks an Oxfam blog. The Group also
issued a press release reacting to Jim Kim’s plenary
speech during the Annual Meetings of the International
Financial Institutions.
UNION NEWS UPDATES
Nigeria Labour Congress Drive for
Universal VCT
NLC President Abdulwaheed Omar
Declaring that Nigerian workers are part of the
most vulnerable group, NLC President, Comrade
Abdulwaheed Omar, then went on to set an example
by taking an HIV test himself. The NLC is urging all
workers to go for voluntary HIV testing. At the same
time it recognizes that access to testing may be limited.
To this end it has partnered with the National Agency
for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to set up a mobile HIV
testing programme. The medical staff in the scheme
will also look out for other conditions including
malaria, tuberculosis, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Priority will also be given to preventing mother-to-child
transmission. The NACA/NLC partnership appears to
be shaping up as a promising contribution to the
ILO VCT@WORK initiative.
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November 2013  Issue 2
First Collective Agreement in Colombia
to Contain HIV/AIDS Clauses
Colombian transport union SNTT has signed a
collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with a national
bus company which contains clauses related to HIV/
AIDS. It guarantees job security for HIV-positive
workers and commits the company to support union
campaigns for HIV prevention. The agreement also led
to a merger between a former company-based union
and SNTT.
Targeting Collective Agreements
Across the Transport Industry
Making collective bargaining a priority, plus the
provision of training, has helped ITF affiliates address
HIV/AIDS-related issues/protection in CBAs. As
described in the ITF global and African evaluation
reports, over 50 are in Africa but they’ve also been
negotiated by unions in Argentina, Colombia, Guyana,
Honduras, India, Nepal, Panama, Thailand and Ukraine.
Health Risks Rise in East Africa
Transport Corridors
The Tanzania Daily News reports that the East Africa
Community (EAC) is bracing for a big boost in traffic
through transport corridors, border posts and ports
that are sure to pose a high risk of communicable
diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
“We should ... reflect on the impending regional
integration and scale-up on transport corridors and
share experiences in order to develop sustainable
... solutions,” Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Mbarak Abdulwakil, told a
Regional Consultation of the International Organization
for Migration (IOM), on Coordinated Scale-up
Comprehensive Health Programming along Transport
Corridors in East Africa.
Transport unions in the region participated in the
meeting that was called to prepare for the higher risks
resulting from increased traffic and easier crossings as
one-stop border posts (OSBPs) are established. The
Vice-Chairman of the Tanzania Drivers Association,
Mohamed Abdulkadir, said that bureaucracy at some of
the border posts was among the factors leading drivers
to engage in unprotected sex. Sometimes drivers spent
more than two weeks at the borders waiting for the
documentation to be processed.
The meeting aimed to identify the roles and
responsibilities of key players in providing health
interventions along EAC transport corridors. One
such player is the North Star Alliance (NSA), whose
partners include the International Transport Workers’
Federation (ITF) and its affiliate the Uganda Transport
and General Workers’ Union, provides health services
to truck drivers and sex workers and primary care
to communities with limited or no access to medical
services. NSA’s Regional Director for the EAC, Ms. Eva
Mwai, says it has established more than 30 one-stop
border post (OSBPs) clinics in Africa.
Positive Workers of the World Unite!
ITF’s Challenge to Trade Unions
Positive networks have been in the vanguard of
national action and global advocacy on HIV. But why
are there virtually no networks of positive workers or
trade unionists? Are there in fact limits to trade union
solidarity, asks the ITF’s Agenda: Challenging HIV/
AIDS in Transport. The new issue (no.7, 2013) includes
interviews with positive union activists and news of
the USAFIRI network of positive transport workers in
Kenya (usafiri means modes of transport in Swahili).
Positive Union Leader Speaks Out
A recent ITF regional
seminar in Malawi gave
Davison Kambudzi,
General Secretary of
the Central East Africa
Railway Workers Union
(right), the confidence
to say for the first
time in public that he
was living with HIV.
Kambudzi committed
to creating a network of
HIV-positive transport
workers in Malawi and urged all union leaders and
workers to know their status and disclose it. See
the May-June issue of the ITF’s e-bulletin, HIV/AIDS
Update, which also includes an update on USAFIRI as it
sets up further branches in Kenya and other countries
in the region.
General Secretary Davison Kambudzi
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November 2013  Issue 2
Collective Bargaining For Health: New
Framework Agreement Between Global
Unions And Lafarge
In May 2013 the Building and Wood Workers’
International (BWI) and IndustriALL Global Union
signed a revised agreement with French cement group
Lafarge for the construction sector. This commits to
non-discrimination and the setting-up of prevention
programmes. Reference is made to the ILO’s code
of practice on HIV/AIDS but unfortunately not to
Recommendation 200 (2010). Implementation of
the Global Framework Agreement on corporate social
responsibility and international industrial relations
started at the Lafarge plant in Comayagua, Honduras.
NEWS FROM PARTNERS
AND OTHER ACTORS
Voluntary HIV Testing Initiative for
Millions of Workers
The International Labour Organization (ILO),
supported by the Joint United Nations Programme on
HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has launched the VCT@WORK
initiative to reach 5 million workers in Africa with
voluntary and confidential HIV counselling and testing
by 2015. While more than 8 million people with HIV
are receiving the antiretroviral treatment they need,
an estimated 7 million eligible people are not. Globally
about 40% of people living with HIV don’t know their
status.
Getting to Zero at Work

The campaign aims to mobilize the world of work to
help realize the UN vision: “Zero new HIV infections.
Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.” It
was launched by the ILO’s Director-General at the
102nd International Labour Conference this June, and
government, employer and worker delegates recorded
messages in support.
WHNnews™ INTERVIEWS...
Dr. Marie-Goretti Harakeye
Head of HIV, TB,
Malaria and other
Infectious diseases
in the Social Affairs
Commission of the
African Union
Dr. Harakeye, do you think that the African Union
Summit and the Abuja +12 Special Summit have
opened a new chapter in the African response to
infectious disease?
The Abuja Summit came at a time when leadership
commitment is very high and significant progress has
been made in AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria responses,
notably in the last decade. What the meetings achieved
is to renew and sustain that commitment and turn it
into action. Concrete actions that African leaders and
various development partners will prioritize are: to
accelerate the implementation of the earlier “Abuja
Commitments,” step up the mobilization of domestic
resources to strengthen health systems, and ensure
that strategies are in place for diversified, balanced
and sustainable financing for health, in particular AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria.
10
November 2013  Issue 2
How do you assess the progress made in the last
few months?
There has been a strong impetus on the whole
continent in the last few months to diversify and
expand the sources of funding for health generally, and
for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria specifically. These
efforts to reduce dependence on unpredictable funding
from a few external funders towards home grown
African solutions is clearly articulated in the African
Union Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global
Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa (2012-
2015). The measures that have been taken include
quantifying the country-level funding gaps in AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria responses, identifying policy
options to increase resources, increasing financial
commitment by the private sector, and inclusion of
health, malaria and HIV services in different forms
of health insurance and other health financing
mechanisms for universal health coverage. Member
States of the African Union are developing more robust,
inclusive, results-focused national strategies and
related investment cases, and streamlining disease
coordination and governance to make the best use of
limited national human and financial resources.
From your insider’s perspective, do you think the
process of preparing the accountability report for
the G8 helped the AU plan the next steps in its
response to AIDS, TB and Malaria?
Yes, the process specifically achieved four things:
• it helped assess the delivery and impact of mutual
commitments by Africa and G8 development
partners from 2000 to 2012, with particular
emphasis on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria;
• it highlighted the progress made by Africa within
the context of African Renaissance with respect to
the three deadly diseases;
• it identified challenges and lessons learnt in the
AU–G8 partnership to bridge the gap between
commitments and delivery in the health sector; and
• it proposed priority policy actions to create an
African generation free of AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria.
The process provided concrete steps in defining the
AU-G8 partnership in the context of implementing the
Roadmap through concrete and results-based actions.
Preparation of the AU report involved consulting
a range of interested parties. If the G8 were to
include stakeholders in preparing its own ac-
countability report, what advice would you have
to offer?
The preparation of the report was a groundbreaking
step in promoting sustained partnership and
reinforcing mutual accountability between the African
Union and G8. The consultation process included
relevant African Union Commission organs, including
the NEPAD agency, UNAIDS, Stop TB Partnership, the
Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership, the African
Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), the Global Fund, the
GAVI Alliance and AIDS Accountability International.
However, going forward, information provision,
participation and consultation of key stakeholders in
the preparation of the report should be broadened to
include more players in the global AIDS, TB and malaria
responses. These include the Regional Economic
Communities, the Regional Health Organizations, civil
society organizations, the private sector and other key
players.
What can be done to create a more united private
sector response to AIDS, TB and malaria?
One of the major critical steps is to engage various
business coalitions on health and initiate dialogue
between public and private sector stakeholders,
ideally through a forum to identify opportunities for
public-private partnerships that address existing
opportunities and gaps. It is through these mechanisms
that we will be able to develop a database of available
resources which may contribute to AIDS, tuberculosis
and malaria. Fundamentally important is the need
to increase the private sector’s awareness of and
willingness to report critical health data to national and
continental health information systems. In addition,
there should be support for public-private dialogue
for jointly determining health indicators and efficient
reporting systems as a means to encourage regular
reporting on the part of private health providers.
11
November 2013  Issue 2
How can trade unions advocate more effectively
with business and with government to promote
the key role of trade unions in planning and
implementing effective action at the workplace
and more generally?
Trade unions have an enviable history of taking action
to promote the human rights, dignity and health of
workers. It is now well known that the workplace
has vast potential for limiting the damaging effects
of the three epidemics. Workplace programmes that
protect rights, support prevention, and provide access
to care and treatment can help mitigate the impact
that these diseases have on families and communities.
To be effective trade unions should utilize their
comparative advantage to advocate for inclusion of
AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria on the table within the
tripartite negotiating forums with governments and the
private sector.
The power of the efforts of trade unions lies in the
fact that actions are not only the actions of individual
men and women. They are the organized responses
of groups of workers, backed up by the resources,
expertise and influence of their trade unions. Utilizing
these existing platforms with businesses helps a
long way in the development and implementation
of effective wellness workplace’s policies and
programmes. Trade unions can tap into global union
federations and adopt a wide range of workplace
responses to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
What are the top three ways trade unions can
help implement the African Union Roadmap?
Trade unions can help with political mobilization thus
ensuring that leadership in government implement the
Roadmap. The experience of COSATU in South Africa
in mobilizing thousands of people in support of the
campaign for affordable treatment shows the power
of solidarity. National unions, with support from their
global federations, can build on the unique structures
of the labour movement to develop effective projects,
policies and programmes at global, continental and
national levels. The labour movement can work
together with civil society organizations to advocate in
countries for the implementation of the AU Roadmap,
which is the only way towards universal access to HIV
and AIDS, TB and malaria services. Unions can also
continue to leverage on their constituency strength to
monitor implementation of government commitments
and work with various players to ensure leaders at
various levels take appropriate and effective actions.
What can unions do, and who do they need to
work with, to see their contributions are recorded
in a systematic way? Is there a monitoring and
evaluation process related to the Roadmap where
unions can share good practices and lessons
learnt?
Unions are involved at the national level in terms of
the development of costed national strategic plans
with strategic information, monitoring and evaluation
mechanisms. Unions should thus continue to engage
with various players in government, civil society,
private sector and the development community for
data collection, harmonization and dissemination in
support of the national priorities in AIDS, tuberculosis
and malaria. The African Union is finalizing the
indicators for monitoring the Roadmap. The unions
can help with ensuring that data collection systems
are capturing the set benchmarks for diversified,
sustainable and balanced financial models, access to
medicines and regulatory harmonization, particularly
the implementation of the Africa Pharmaceutical Plan
Business Plan and regulatory harmonization and the
indicators for leadership, governance and oversight for
sustainability.
Are there any specific ways unions might be able
to help AIDS WATCH Africa advance its work?
Unions can provide support in developing country
specific investment plans and momentum for
increasing share of domestic spending in the health
sector, especially on AIDS, TB and Malaria.
They can also utilize existing structures at national,
sectoral, regional and global levels to advocate for
mobilizing more domestic resources for health, better
use of the existing resources and accountability. They
can support the development of a comprehensive plan
to modernize the governance bodies of health systems
to improve leadership, coherence, efficiency and
performance for the three diseases, using the principles
of inclusion, shared responsibility and global solidarity.
Unions can also sensitize health workers on the
importance of the reporting based on selected
indicators to measure the progress on the
implementation of the three pillars of the AU Roadmap.
These efforts will help us to measure the progress
made and to advance the mutual accountability.
The production of this
newsletter is made possible
by the Global Foundation
for Social Harmony &
Sustainable Development
and its Trade Union
Sustainable Development
Unit.
Send your news information to the editors:
Robert Lovelace
rlovelace@tu-sdunit.com
Susan Leather:
sleather@tu-sdunit.com
The African and Canadian contacts are:
In Africa:
Yahya Msangi
yahya.msangi@ituc-africa.org
ITUC Africa
Route Internationale d’Atakpame
P.B: 4401 Lome, Togo
+ 228 22250710
+ 228 2256113
In Canada:
David Onyalo
donyalo@clc-ctc.ca
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
2841 Riverside Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario K1V 8X7
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