UN in Nairobi to Offer AIDS Drugs to Workers Who Clean Floors and Serve Food
July 22, 2003
The UN will offer AIDS drugs to cleaners, gardeners and other workers at its vast Nairobi complex who are not full-time UN employees, a top UN official in Kenya said Friday.Adapted from:
The new policy will affect an estimated 390 workers who spend more than half their working week at the 140-acre campus, Klaus Toepfer told reporters. Seventeen subcontractors employ the workers. The Kenyan compound is the headquarters for the UN Environment Program and UN Habitat.
The new policy -- a first for the UN in Africa -- will apply to all future contracts, said Toepfer. For the contracted workers, that means the latest they will receive the benefits is February 2004, when the last of the current contracts comes up for renewal, according to Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the environment program. Toepfer said it is unclear what the cost of the new policy will be until all the contracts are renewed.
The UN will also require subcontractors to increase wages, provide four months maternity leave, and cover the cost of transportation to and from work.
Around 2.2 million Kenyans out of a population of 30 million are HIV-infected. An estimated 700 people in Kenya die every day from AIDS and related diseases.
In 1992, the UN began offering AIDS drugs to its 1,600 full-time employees.
07.18.03; Bryan Mealer