| More than one-quarter of working-age adults are infected with HIV in
some communities in sub-Saharan Africa, a statistic that brings profound
economic repercussions for families and communities and particularly
for this forum, tremendous repercussions on employment generation. for
the simple reason that methodology that has at its heart "economic
growth" at the heart of is destined to be doomed if the rampant spread of
AIDS is not stopped.
Malcolm McPherson of the Belfer Center at Harvard's Kennedy School of
Government talks of how the spread of HIV/AIDS seriously erodes human
capacity and adversely affects "capacity deepening," which is defined
as building upon existing skills in order to increase productivity. But
in a heavily AIDS-infected population skilled personnel are lost and
valuable labor time is consumed when workers become debilitated, and work
schedules are disrupted when organizations replace workers and managers
who are ill or have died.
The growth of the private sector too is serously hampered. As as
companies pay direct costs for treatment of sick employees and more expensive
health and insurance benefits, as well as the indirect costs of lower
productivity, absenteeism and increased recruitment and training costs
for replacement staff. Companies can, to some extent, shift the costs of
the epidemic onto the public sector. For example, when health and life
insurance costs rise, some companies will be forced to reduce benefits
and people will seek care from the public sector. However, in many
developing countries the public sector is dysfunctional, so the social,
health, and financial burdens often fall on households and families. In
addition, governments face the same increased mortality and morbidity
among infected staff as the private sector, reducing the public sector's
ability to maintain the expertise needed to respond to the epidemic.
So what has the international agencies, civil society done to
alleviate this problem? Furthermore, have the developing countries atleast tried to develop
methodologies to assess the impact of HIV/AIDS on business?
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