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African Business Coalitions Fight HIV/AIDS

A new report shows African businesses are doing more to battle HIV/AIDS among their employees. The World Economic Forum study shows 27 sub-Saharan African countries are helping business coalitions battle HIV/AIDS among their employees.

Francesca Boldrini is the director of the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Initiative. From Geneva, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about how business coalitions tackle the pandemic.

“How they actually set up and how they run varies dramatically by country. But essentially what they do is they work together to leverage the business competencies in countries. So, they basically create critical mass for businesses to be able to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis. This can include for example running workplace programs, partnering with the community to do programs or simply lend their core competency’s help in doing what business knows how to do best,” she says.

She says it’s important for businesses to get involved in fighting the disease because “the AIDS epidemic is still spreading fast in most parts of Africa. And it really is basically important for everyone get involved. In particular, business has a really important role to play starting with the workplace. They have their workers, which they need to look after their health. They need to be able to have a functioning business. But also, business has a different way of doing things sometimes from the public sector, which is more effective in overcoming some of the challenges.”