GPL employees benefit from annual symposium on NCDs
DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Guyana Power and Light (GPL) employees on Wednesday benefitted from its annual symposium on chronic illness. This initiative is a collaborative effort between GPL and the St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital.
The four main types of chronic illness which were discussed at the symposium, were cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and stroke), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases (chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
Speaking at the symposium held at Cara Lodge, Woodbine Room, GPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (ag.) Renford Homer explained that the seminar aims to provide continuing education that will assist employees with chronic diseases to better manage their illnesses and maintain healthier lifestyles.
It also provides effective consultation for employees hence ensuring their physical health needs are met, allowing them to function more effectively at work.
The acting GPL CEO noted that providing quality service to consumers can take a toll on the health of employees without them being aware, hence the need for such a symposium.
“As a company, we (Guyana Power and Light) recognise that you cannot ignore these challenges nor can you ignore the impact of how our work can have on our health and so the annual chronic illness programme that Guyana Power and Light has endorsed is a magnificent one,” Homer explained. He advised the employees to take advantage of the seminar and ask as many questions possible.
Minister within Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings said that the initiative taken by GPL is commendable as more businesses are aware of the need to combat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) within the workplace.
She noted that the business community should implement policies and programmes such anti-smoking, anti-alcohol, incentives for exercise, stress reduction and physical activity, to combat NCDs.
“Non-Communicable Diseases have a major impact on men and women of working age and their elderly dependents, the results are lost income, loss of opportunities for investment, and overall lower levels of economic development, that is why it is commendable that GPL has taken this initiative to speak to its employees about chronic illnesses and present alternative pathways for avoiding and in some cases reducing the debilitating effects of Non-Communicable Diseases,” Minister Cummings said.
According to the minister, workplace interventions targeting the three modifiable risk factors -tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets – can reduce the impact of NCDs among employees of working age and offer health promotion to those who have limited contact with health services outside the workplace. She stressed that the onus is also on employees to take necessary steps towards reducing and preventing the onset of NCDs.
The minister highlighted the negative impact NCDs have on national and global economies, as it has been identified as a major threat to economic development by the World Economic Forum.
The government has placed emphasis on the reduction of the incidences of NCDs and their complications in Guyana, by raising awareness among the public and decision-makers both locally and regionally. This has led to the Ministry of Public Health investing 70 percent of its budget to battle NCDs.
Last year, the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with the Bureau of Statistics conducted a STEPS (Noncommunicable Disease Risk Factor) survey to monitor the population to enable the development and implementation of appropriate interventions to treat and prevent NCDs.
The survey will also serve to allow the ministry to accurately forecast and procure the correct medication in sufficient quantities, thus preventing drug shortages in the country.
By: Neola Damon