EFFORTS by the PPF Pensions Fund to support government initiative in fighting HIV/Aids have won praise from members of the Parliamentary Committee on Aids and Drug Control who visited PPF headquarters in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.
Speaking at the opening of discussions in which the legislators made their contributions in the struggle to prevent new HIV/Aids infections, PPF Director General, Mr William Erio, said 100m/- had been set aside this year to support the national initiative.
"PPF continues to reach out to the community through peer group educators, particularly from this office. PPF has formed an HIV/Aids Committee. Workers and their family members are informed about preventive measures through fliers, pamphlets and seminars," Erio explained.
The chief executive further said that HIV tests have been voluntary and the response among employees has been immense, adding that in case of any reported infection, stigmatisation was prohibited. "Individual health status will never be a reason to deny someone the right to promotion or training and confidentiality is guaranteed.
Last year 80m/- was set aside for the purpose and this year 100m/- has been allocated in the fight against Aids. Out of the amount 25m/- goes to community outreach," the CEO clarified.
It was explained that on April 1, this year, PPF launched a campaign under the banner, 'Getting to zero' whereby one-third of 311 PPF workers volunteered immediately for blood tests.
"In addition to the PPF vision to provide excellent services and increase the number of customers, people's health has received deserving attention," he said.
Sharing views on ways to intensify the war against HIV/ Aids, the parliamentary committee chairperson, Lediana Mng'ong'o (Special Seats - CCM) advised PPF workers to extend to outside community the caution taken to avoid new infections as the nation required the labour force for national development.
Dr Faustine Ndungulile (Kigamboni -CCM) asked PPF employees to remember donating blood for the national reserve as the demand was at least 400,000 units but the stock was hardly 150,000 units.
"Through concerted efforts, the three HIV/Aids related zeros can be achieved. Zero infection, zero discrimination (stigma) and zero Aids -related deaths," Ndungulile said.
Mbeya Rural legislator, Rev. Luckson Mwanjale (CCM) made a special appeal to all community health educators to reach out to the community and stop operating on paper only.
"The commitment shown by PPF is quite exemplary and the nation needs such dedicated educators," Rev. Mwanjale observed Another legislator, Anna Maulid Komu (Special Seats - CCM) reminded the community about faithfulness in marriage, insisting that there was no gain in promiscuity.
Her observation was supported by Maria Hewa (Special Seats-CCM), who said Aids preventive education should be extended to expectant mothers as a newborn child could be prevented from infection even if born by an infected mother.