In Indonesia’s Papua province, HIV infection levels are 15 times higher than the national average (UNAIDS, 2010).  Papua has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia, a staggering 3.6% (Provincial AIDS Commissions, August 2010).  An international study by AusAID in 2006, estimated that there would be more than 97,000 deaths due to AIDS related illnesses by 2025, resulting in more than 166,000 children being orphaned.  Consequently, this prediction would reduce the labour force by 5%.

Indonesian Business Coalition on AIDS (IBCA) established the Papua Chapter with the full support of PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), one of IBCA’s founding members.  Mr. I Gusti Made Arka from the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration launched the Papua Chapter on 10 November 2010 in Timika – Papua.

The establishment of the IBCA Papua Chapter is one of PTFI’s efforts to manage HIV/AIDS in the workplace.  The Papua Chapter has nine companies as its members all of which are PTFI contractors.

PT Trakindo Utama, PT Puncak Jaya Power, Sucofindo, Airfast Indonesia, Pangansari Utama, PT Redpath, PT Kuala Pelabuhan Indonesia, Sandvik and Buma Intinaker are the nine companies who have agreed to implement HIV workplace policies and workplace and community prevention education programs.

“Private institution coalition in combating AIDS is a real effort from companies to help the government in accomplishing Millennium Development Goals (MDGS),” said PTFI EVP & CAO Director Sinta Sirait on behalf of IBCA.

PTFI is one of IBCA’s founding members, which comprise seven companies: British Petroleum, PTFI, Gajah Tunggal, Chevron, Sintesa Group, Sinar Mas and Unilever. All seven companies agreed to form a coalition that would ensure proper regulations on HIV/AIDS in the workplace at management level and a high level of awareness on the risk of HIV/AIDS at employee level. The founding members also agreed to eliminate any discrimination and stigmatization towards People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) in the workplace.

IBCA Country Director, Evodia Iswandi expressed her gratitude towards PTFI management for the new coalition establishment.

“IBCA Papua Chapter is a real contribution of private sectors in preventing and combating HIV/AIDS in Papua,” she said.

Meanwhile, on behalf of PTFI management, Arief Latif, Vice President of Social Outreach & Local Development affirmed that HIV/AIDS is a mutual problem and therefore a joint effort is needed to manage it.

“PTFI has implemented policies and programs in the workplace to manage HIV/AIDS. PTFI, together with the government and the community are always striving to combat the spreading of the disease,” he said.

Dr. Nafsiah Mboi Nafsiah, Secretary for the National AIDS Commission was pleased to see the dream of opening the Papua Chapter realised.

“IBCA Papua Chapter establishment is something extraordinary, very strategic in an effort of combating AIDS, not only in Papua but also at national level,” he said.

He added that IBCA is a model of public-private partnership.

“When handling a national problem, coordination between private, government and community sectors is needed,” he said.

After conveying his thanks to PTFI and all company members of IBCA Papua Chapter, Director General Made Arka said that the HIV/AIDS workplace prevention efforts are in line with Law No.1 Year 1970 regarding safety at work.

“The regulation mandates all companies to implement their obligations in preventing any diseases related to work, for instance the infectious disease,” he stated.

The Ministry has also published technical regulations on HIV/AIDS prevention in the workplace.

In addition to the representatives of IBCA Papua Chapter members, the official ceremony was also attended by Asia Pacific Business Coalition on Aids (APBCA) CEO Stephen Grant, Mimika Health Agency Chairman Erens Machboen, PTFI management, PTFI AIDS volunteers and other guests.