A KARIBA-BASED fish farming and processing company, Lake Harvest, has moved in to ensure uninterrupted production at its companies in Zimbabwe and Zambia through a comprehensive HIV workplace programme.

Samson Coffee, Lake Harvest's group environmental, social and governance officer, said the programme was meant to foster decent and productive employment while protecting rights at work.

The company has a staff complement of 350 at its companies on both sides of the Zambezi River.

“The company’s HIV policy seeks to provide a framework for consistent application and decision-making as well as providing accurate and factual information on HIV and Aids through education and training so as to minimise the transmission of HIV,” Coffee said.

“The policy also aims at encouraging employees to go for HIV testing and counselling services and to provide employees with guidance on available support.”

Coffee said the employees and the company had adopted acceptable standards of behaviour in handling cases of HIV and Aids since the establishment of the policy in 2002.

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He said the policy also helped the company to ensure fair and consistent handling of cases of HIV and Aids. Coffee said Lake Harvest was active in workers’ welfare protection programmes and was supportive of the comprehensive workplace policy and programmes on HIV and Aids in the workplace.

Lake Harvest's senior human resources officer Givemore Nyarumwe said promoting decent and productive employment meant that rights at work are protected, adequate income is generated and social protection is provided.

“Our HIV policy in the workplace is helping us ensure stable production by preventing a high turnover of staff and decreasing absenteeism,” he said.

Fifty-year-old Borniface Chiremba, a worker at Lake Harvest, who is living with HIV, said the policy had created a supportive and non-discriminatory workplace environment.

“We are happy with what the company is doing as far as HIV and Aids issues are concerned,” Chiremba said.

Chipo Ruza, another worker, said the company had been helping her since the time she tested positive.

Coffee, however, said implementing the policy was facing challenges including limited internal funding.

He said they were working with the National Aids Council, Zimbabwe Aids Network, Health ministry and Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV, among others.