In many countries, post offices are a central part of the community and often promote public health messages. Now, the postal unions worldwide have launched a campaign based in post offices to get out the word on preventing the spread of HIV.
UNI Global Unions (UNI), which represents workers in 900 unions worldwide, has joined with the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and UNAIDS to launch a global-awareness campaign on HIV in post offices around the world. Through a series of posters and handouts, post offices in participating countries will provide visitors and employees with important information about preventing HIV.
Using the slogan, “Your Post Office Cares. Protect Yourself,” the campaign will begin in some 16,000 post offices in seven countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Estonia, Mali and Nigeria. These countries were chosen because of their high rate of HIV. Estonia, for example, has Europe’s highest rate of HIV infection. In Cameroon, the latest available statistics show that about 5 percent of the population between from ages 15 through 49 are infected with HIV. Worldwide, on average, more than 7,400 new HIV infections occur every day.
During this initial phase, nearly 24,000 post offices will display and distribute the information materials. Over the next three years, the campaign will be expanded globally, potentially making its way into the more than 600,000 post offices worldwide whose governments are members of UPU. The UPU is an arm of the United Nations, which coordinates postal policy among 191 countries.
UNAIDS, the U.N’s joint HIV prevention program, is preparing a multi-language website on HIV prevention, which provides detailed information on preventing infection. The ILO also is putting together a toolkit to guide the development of workplace policies and the implementation of programs on HIV prevention, care and support for workers and managers.
UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings says:
Postal workers and their families are also touched by HIV and AIDS. Healthy employees contribute to the decent living of their families as well as the good functioning of the company and the postal network as a whole.
This joint campaign…is also an opportunity to have employees and employers discuss and prevent HIV as well as dialogue on broader issues such as health and safety.
UPU Director General Edouard Dayan says that with so many post offices around the world, the postal network is a natural partner for this HIV-prevention awareness campaign.
It is the single largest health-awareness initiative ever launched globally by the postal sector, demonstrating the huge outreach and value of the universal services it provides.