The World Bank and the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA) launched Guidelines for Building Better Coalitions Against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa on Thursday.
Participants from 15 countries representing business coalitions and national AIDS councils met for a week-long conference to map ways the private sector could unite to fight the epidemic.
They plan to establish a regional network with products and services that will serve the interests of business and governments in mounting an effective and sustainable response to HIV/AIDS.
In a recent survey, about 41 percent of African firms reported serious current impacts on their business from HIV/AIDS and the majority noted negative effects on operating costs, a World Bank statement said.
Brad Mears, chief executive officer of SABCOHA, said the guidelines were the outcome of a long process and aimed at providing the private sector with practical and relevant direction on combining forces to fight the epidemic.
According to Elizabeth Ashbourne of the World Bank: "Coalitions assist companies by facilitating information sharing; permitting economies of scale in the development of workplace HIV/AIDS products and services; and create a strong, unified front for public policy debate and advocacy."
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