Regional governments work out policies to help educate mobile workers on hiv/aids issues

24 Apr 2000

Ha Noi - Government delegates from Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar gathered in Ha Noi this morning to discuss HIV/AIDS issues in the land transport sector.

The two- and a-half-day workshop is hosted by the National AIDS Bureau of Viet Nam with support from the South East Asia HIV and Development Project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"This cluster workshop aims to help the Governments in the region to formulate appropriate HIV/AIDS specific strategies and policies for the land transport sector," said the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam, Mr Edouard A. Wattez.

"The workshop is a follow-up to the ASEAN Task Force on AIDS annual meeting held in Brunei Darussalam last November, which underscored the link between economic development, migration and HIV/AIDS vulnerability."

During the workshop, each country will present their inter-country policy and programme elements. They will finalise together a joint action programme to deal with regional mobility and related HIV vulnerability.

The vulnerability of migrant workers to HIV/AIDS is of increasing concern to Governments in the South East Asia region. The increase of large infrastructure projects and highway construction activities during the past years has attracted workers from the rural areas as well as from neighbouring countries. These workers mostly consist of men between 20 and 50 years of age. Being away from home for a long time, they are potentially exposed to HIV/AIDS, especially as many are not aware of the epidemic and how it is transmitted. Long-distance truckdrivers are another example of a mobile worker group that faces the same risks.

The UNDP South East Asia HIV and Development Project has been providing support to the ASEAN countries in raising awareness about the issue. In Viet Nam, the project has conducted the mapping assessment along National Highway One, the major transport route of Viet Nam. The assessment is focused on population movement and related HIV vulnerability as part of an overall regional collaboration. Similar exercises have been undertaken in Cambodia, Laos and southern China.

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