The impact of HIV/AIDS among different organizations in Lesotho and how they respond to the challenge : a Lesotho study

Sekhibane, Veronica Mabohle (2005-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University,2005.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of HIV/AIDS among different organizations in Lesotho and how they respond to the challenge; and to determine whether these organizations respond positively/effectively to the challenge of the pandemic in their respective organizations and whether they have developed workplace programmes and policies which address the issue, and if they do exist, whether they are effective. Lesotho is one of the countries in the world with a very severe HIV/AIDS infection rate. It is estimated that 28.9% of the entire population was living with HIV/AIDS as of December 2003 (UNAIDS, 2004). The increasing number of HIV/AIDS infectees in the country is affecting the entire labour force; therefore to effectively respond to the pandemic, the government of Lesotho and its development partners and civil society organizations are doing everything within their means to control it. Therefore, work place programmes that deal with HIV/AIDS on the work environment should be an answer to the social capital issue; the most valuable resource being human capital, since the programmes would promote prevention, information, education and training. It would also promote the rights of staff members and their dependants living with and/or affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The population where the investigation was done is made up of corporate places of work stratified into five types of organizations found in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho: o Non-governmental organizations o Private sector o Development partners ( Diplomatic Missions/Donors) o Parastatals o Government The results of the study indicated that the majority of these organizations have workplace programmes and policies which are effective and appreciated by the employees, while others are in the process of drawing up their policies or already have them in draft form. Despite all the efforts being put in place, the feeling among some of the organizations is that HIV infection in Africa will continue to increase because of the way it is being addressed; what they call ‘The Western way’. They feel that if it is addressed situationally, not academically, there will be a slight difference. For example, they claim that Africans do not feel comfortable about bringing their private behaviours in the open; for instance, speaking about sex and sexuality. The belief systems of the Basotho are also identified as great influencers in the pandemic. These include the culture/traditions, relations with the family and pressure from peers, people whom we trust and the fulfilment of women's sexual desires. The conclusion reached is that the different organizations in Lesotho address the challenge of HIV/AIDS positively and in others effectively, and with more effort the pandemic could be brought under control in the near future. The recommendation after viewing the findings, is that the issue of care and support, stigma and discrimination are still issues that need to be worked on, since employees are scared to know their status due to fear of being stigmatized. Therefore, the above cannot be addressed properly unless they are seen in practice.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie is 'n ondersoek na die impak van MIV/Vigs op, en reaksie van verskillende ondernemings in Lesotho. Volgens beraming is die infeksiekoers van Lesotho 28.9% en is die invloed daarvan op die werkersmag beduidend; dit kan selfs katastofies raak indien dit nie doeltreffend aangespreek en bestuur word nie.. Data is versamel by by vyf kategorië van ondernemings in Maseru ten einde te verseker dat al die belangrikste sektore deur die studie betrek word.. Resultate toon aan dat die meeste ondernemings wel werksplekprogramme en MIV/Vigs-beleid in plek het. Die persepsie van werkers binne die ondernemings wat in die ondersoek gebruik is toon egter 'n negatiewe prognose ten opsigte van die doelteffende bestuur van die pandemie. Die gevoel is dat die benadering te reglynig en "Westers" is en dat die metafore en tradisies van Afrika meer effektief in voorkomingsprogramme sal wees. Voorstelle in hierdie verband word gemaak. Voorstelle vir meer doeltreffende voorkomingsprogramme word gemaak en voorstelle vir verdere studies in Lesotho word aan die hand gedoen.

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