HIV and AIDS is a global pandemic with adverse economic and social effects. The pandemic is claiming lives of productive men and women who would have contributed to the development and success of both the public and private sectors and the country at large.
Companies and institutions are coming under constant threat as a result of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The impact of HIV and AIDS in the workplace is well documented. HIV and AIDS robs institutions of the desired human resource with the requisite skills to implement various tasks for the growth of organisations. Through deaths, sickness, recruitment costs, training costs and absenteeism, institutions and companies' productivity is negatively affected due to high operational costs, loss of man hours and loss of inherent knowledge or institutional memory.
Productivity in the public and private sector has slowed down hence affecting the overall National Economy. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, the Malawi Government through the National AIDS Commission (NAC) has taken an aggressive approach to respond to this pandemic.
The Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development has been instrumental in forging HIV and AIDS actions in the water sector. In 2001, it launched a National Steering Committee and followed up with conferences and Workshops aimed at coordinating efforts in the response to HIV and AIDS. The Malawi Government launched a National HIV and AIDS Work Place Policy to show its commitment in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
In realizing the negative impact of HIV and AIDS in the workplace, Blantyre Water Board developed a comprehensive policy whose aim is to effectively prevent the further spread of HIV among employees, their spouses and direct dependants as well as treat, care and support those living with HIV.
Blantyre Water Board has a number of programmes that respond to HIV and AIDS. These programmes broadly cover issues of prevention, treatment, care and support for staff, their immediate families and the communities.