PCL Group commemorates World AIDS Day

PCL Group commemorates World AIDS Day

Subsidiaries of the Press Group of companies from different parts of the country jointly commemorated the international World AIDS Day at a lively event that was held on 1st December 2015 at COMESA hall, Blantyre.

Speaking during the event, PCL Group Operations Executive, Pius Mulipa, said HIV and AIDS has had a huge bearing on business and that this is the reason why the private sector should take a leading role in the management of HIV/AIDS in Malawi.

“When people are sick they don’t come to work. When their relatives are sick their concentration at work goes down. That is why we at Press have made it a policy to ensure that we have an HIV policy for our companies," said Mulipa.

While maintaining the “Getting to Zero” theme from the previous year, this year’s event expanded on it with a new focus that is aimed at helping the country get to the zero mark. The facilitator of the event from the Malawi Business Coalition against HIV/AIDS (MBCA), Stuart Chuka, explained that the new focus is encapsulated in the 90-90-90 concept.

“We are targeting that 90 percent of the population  should know their status, 90 percent of those infected should be put on anti-retroviral therapy and 90 percent of those receiving treatment should be suppressing their viral load, hence 90-90-90. If these steps can be followed we will get to zero and be able to get rid of HIV,” he said.

A speaker from MACRO, Kondwani Mwenefumbo, encouraged employees to practice safer sex and to get tested so that they know their status if they did not already know it. He further observed that the working class presents a unique challenge to the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“The most difficult group of people who are reluctant to access VCT in society are the educated, those with degrees, Master’s degrees, and Doctorates. And yet these are the most enlightened and have the most information but for them to take a step it is difficult, they are just negligent. What we want is for people to reduce number of sexual partners, get tested, start treatment if required and adhere to the instructions once on treatment”, he explained.

At the event the Press Group donated items amounting to K1 Million to Tichezerane HIV Support group from Mdeka. Other activities on the day included a Cancer talk, VCT and Positive Living talks; a performance by Chancellor College Travelling theatre; interactive group sessions, poetry by Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa; and a fitness training session.

Companies represented at the event included Carlsberg, Limbe Leaf Tobacco, Macsteel, Malawi Telecommunications Limited, National Bank of Malawi, Peoples Supermarket, Press Cane, Puma Energy, Telekom Networks Malawi, The Ethanol company and The Foods company.