A Hepatitis awareness advocate has urged the executive department to sign the amended anti-discrimination ordinance that now includes health status and to draft its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
“We really want to push the passing of the IRR and to specify hepatitis,” to strengthen the protection of people with Hepatitis B, Ryan Gersava, co-founder of GO Viral, an international NGO working to end discrimination on Hepatitis, said.
The YWSP is a community-based, voluntary health organization fighting Hepatitis along with City Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, a physician who chairs the Council Committee on Health.
According to Villafuerte, the IRR will put in place the guidelines that will protect persons with medical conditions from discrimination. The anti-discrimination ordinance was passed in 2012 but was amended in July last year to include health status and to create the anti-discrimination mediation and conciliation board.
Villafuerte and the Hepatitis B advocates continue its effort to eradicate the stigma in the workplaces within the city.
“There is a number of people who cannot contribute to the economy of the country for the simple reason that they have this virus that they do not choose to have,” Gersava said.
Villafuerte said she advised the YWSP “to record the companies that still do not accept applicants (with Hepatitis B) so that I could take it up with the City Health Office.”
Gersava said they have gathered all human resources managers of top taxpaying establishments in the city “to educate on hepatitis.”
According to Villafuerte, “sometimes, it’s just the lack of knowledge that brings unacceptance. Some may think it is highly contagious but once you know how it is spread, they can be accepted.”
However, Villafuerte stated that the ordinance may be limited only to some desk and call center jobs.
“The ordinance can no longer affect national offices’ requirements such as PNP and AFP because their hiring process specifies a very broad “No illness” requirement. We are also limited from the medical field such as medical technology and nurses because Hepatitis B may be transmitted through blood contact,” the councilor said.