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Experts charge organisations to prioritise HIV, mental health among employees


Stakeholder at the annual NiBUCCA roundtable meeting held in Lagos recently.

Experts have charged owners of organisations and employers of labour to prioritise Human Immunodeficiency (HIV) and mental health checks among employees. They said it’s imperative to remove the stigma of both illnesses at workplaces for the effective productivity of employees, which also adds to the Gross Domestic Product of any economy.

With lots of awareness and campaign centered around mental health and HIV, workplace employee policies are beginning to be reviewed. In an event organized by the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS and sponsored by Medbury Medical Services, experts in the private and health sector came together in the annual NiBUCAA roundtable meeting to discuss and charge employers of labour to remove the stigma of HIV and Mental health checks amongst employees, as it shouldn’t be the criteria for employability.

Consultant psychiatrist at Medbury Medical; Dr Peter Ogunnubi, in a lecture at the meeting, explained the importance of Employee Assistance Program and how it can go a long way to help increase productivity and keep an organization healthy. He stressed that only two percent of people with mental health issues results are roaming the streets, the other 98% is as a result of depression, addiction, stress, emotional issues, workplace burnout and that there are antidepressants and one on one sessions that can help drive away mental stress.

Managing director NNPC, Medical services and the Executive committee chairman NiBUCAA; Dr Musa Shaibu stated that employers should stay away from the medical health reports of their employees, that it is the work of an organization’s HMO and occupational health providers to state if an employee is fit to work or not and the confidentiality of every employee’s health status is their priority and shouldn’t be divulged to management. He says the stigma must stop.

In an interactive panel session moderated by Obianuju Ikegbune, the organization’s communications person, she had a consultant HR personnel in the person of Dr Olayiwola Ogunjobi and the product manager at Janssen the pharmaceutical branch of Johnson & Johnson in the person of Funke Jaiyesimi to discuss policies for employees and drugs available for mental health and HIV.

To wrap up the event, Dr Emmanuel Godwin gave a quick demonstration on the HIV self-testing kit and how one can know their status within the confines of their home using the Oral Sure self-testing kit.


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