Atuabo Free Port signs deal with UNAIDS

•    Mr. Gray (left) and Mr. Haile, exchanging documents after signing the MoU.

• Mr. Gray (left) and Mr. Haile, exchanging documents after signing the MoU.

The Atuabo Free Port Limited (AFP), and UNAIDS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to partner them towards preventing HIV/AIDS infection in Atuabo and its environs.

As part of the MoU, the company, which is in the process of establishing a $600 million oil services free port project at Atuabo in the Western Region, is to provide a support package worth $20,000 to help UNAIDS, the United Nations’ agency on HIV/AIDS, to develop a workplace policy on AIDS to fight the disease.

The policy, to be developed and implemented by the two parties, is expected to benefit workers of AFP and its host communities, as well as its institutional partners.

Being one of the major MoUs signed by UNAIDS, the initiative is part of the AFP’s community development programme being implemented ahead of the start of the company’s operations.

Steven Gray, Director of AFP and Girmay Haile, Country Director of UNAIDS, initialed for their respective organisations during the signing ceremony in Accra on Friday.

According to Mr. Gray, the company recognised the impact of HIV/AIDS on the national economy, and therefore, “we deem the health of the Atuabo community as the success of our operations.”

He noted that AFP project was expected to open up the host community for economic activities, with their attendant health problems such as HIV/AIDS, adding that it was critical for both the workers and the community members to be well educated to protect themselves against any HIV infection.

“As we contribute to improved public health, we trust that the leaders of the communities would embrace the project to ensure its success,” he said, and assured UNAIDS of sustained partnership beyond the project.

Mr. Haile, who lauded the commitment of AFP to the project, said the HIV/AIDS campaign would open up dialogue in Atuabo and its environs as well as the workplaces of AFP, towards preventing the spread of the disease.

He noted that the MOU falls in line with the new anti-HIV campaign by UNAIDS which is targeting the youth.

By Times Reporter

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