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Companies Urged to Sensitize Oil Region About AIDS :: Uganda Radionetwork

Companies Urged to Sensitize Oil Region About AIDS

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Jane Nambakire Mulemwa says the region has all the factors that can fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS
08 Dec 2023 16:25
Engineer Jane Nambakire Mulemwa, the Chairperson of PAU Baord of Directors. She suggests the CSR projects should include raising awareness about HIV

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Oil and gas companies operating in the Albertine Graben have been urged to incorporate HIV/AIDs sensitization in their social corporate responsibility programs.

The call was made by the Chairperson of the Petroleum Authority’s Board, Jane Nambakire Mulemwa noting that while oil companies have done well in their Corporate Social Responsibility programs in health, education, and agriculture, there is little or no awareness about HIV in the Districts of Hoima, Buliisa, Nwoya, Kikuube and generally the Albertine Graben

. “We have the challenge and importance of us consistently providing information, guidance and support about HIV. Because within that region, we have all the factors that can fuel the spread of HIV,” she sai

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Some of the leaders in those regions have complained about the influx of people seeking employment in the oil and gas sector. In Hoima, there have been reports indicating a surge in the number of commercial sex workers.

And the fear of an increase in HIV prevalence has come up. Nightlife in Hoima has particularly changed with several lodges and bars targeting oil workers. Reports about child prostitution have also come up.

Engineer Mulemwa, one of the founders of the AIDS Support Organization (TASO) while officiating at the closing of the 4th Annual National Content Conference 2023 took advantage of the occasion to sound an alarm about the need for mass awareness about HIV/AIDS in the Albertine.

When one visits some of the camps housing the workers in oil fields messages against HIV/AIDs and gender-based violence are displayed. Mulemwa suggests that similar initiatives should be extended to communities near those camps and beyond.

Some studies conducted outside Uganda indicate that in most of sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS is driven by endemic structural problems such as unemployment, poverty, forced migration, sexual exploitation, and concurrent sexual partnerships. In the oil-rich Niger Delta of Nigeria, the epidemic is said to have been exacerbated by recurring regional conflict and negative environmental externalities resulting from 50 years of oil exploration.

Meanwhile, Mulemwa defended the Petroleum Authority and her board over concerns about too many tough restrictions on quality among others. She insists that those restrictions were necessary if the industry is to proceed as designed.   

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Some of the players in the oil and gas sector have been urging the Authority to reconsider some of the restrictions. There have been complaints that some contractors were not adhering to the labor laws and issues related to worker’s welfare. Employees have complained of long working hours without rest.   

On Wednesday, Philippe Groueix, the Chair of TotalEnergies in Uganda and General Manager of TotalEnergies EP Uganda warned the subcontractors to adhere to the country’s labor laws.   

“We will be very vigilant on that during the coming months. That all the workers of the contractors are fulfilling the requirements of the labor law,” he said. 

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Apart from the labor law, all contractors are required to adhere to the health and safety requirements of the industry. Recently PAU suspended work at CNOOC’s Kingfisher project following reports about accidents at the sites.