Health Minister John Boyce has commended the Barbados Workers??? Union and its partners in the 2016 Week of Excellence for placing the spotlight on workplace wellness.

Speaking at a seminar entitled: Developing a National Policy on Wellness held at the BWU???s headquarters, Solidarity House, this morning, the Health Minister observed: ???When we consider that most adults will spend half of their waking hours at work, it is prudent for us to intervene in the workplace to encourage workers to learn about healthy living and to practise healthy lifestyle behaviours.???

He noted that interest in workplace wellness had been increasing over the years, with employers, labour unions and governments taking action to ensure that conditions in the workplace were safe and conducive to good health.??The success of these programmes would depend, however, on the commitment of both management and workers to improving their health and wellbeing through planned activities, Mr. Boyce submitted.

He urged that workplace wellness initiatives be considered within the context of the changing health status of the Barbadian population. ???The rising level of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease and some cancers, which are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among Barbadians, must be incorporated into the healthcare planning process.???

The Minister praised the initiatives already in place, including the health fairs and health awareness days which offered screening, counselling and information to staff; workplaces which employed healthcare providers who could identify health problems at an early stage and refer workers for follow-up; and workplaces which provided on-site fitness facilities and which had established policies on the type of food to be served in their canteens.

Within Government, he revealed that the Ministry of Health provided a range of physical activity programmes for the benefit of heathcare workers, including a fully- equipped gym at the Psychiatric Hospital and weekly line-dancing and aerobics classes at several of its institutions.

The newly-opened David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex at Gall Hill, St. John, is also outfitted with a gym for staff and members of the community.

With these initiatives in place, Mr. Boyce urged participants to pay some attention to the issues of monitoring and evaluation. ???While there are many types of initiatives which can be implemented, there is a need to know which ones are most effective and which ones provide the best outcomes for the financial and other resources that are invested,??? he stated.

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