Swakopmund Municipality has taken a bold step in launching its policy on HIV & Aids, health and wellness management in cooperation with the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, to benefit its staff members by encouraging a healthy-minded workplace.
The signing ceremony held in the Council Chambers on Friday, marked the stamp of commitment that the municipality has made to its employees, whom they claim are the most important component for the successful operation of the institution.
Acting CEO Marco Swarts explained the workplace wellness program aims to assist and support employees in establishing healthier lifestyles, through scheduling behaviour change programmes where discrimination based on HIV/AIDS, and other related illnesses and problems will be reduced.
The policy supports increasing employee awareness of health care, with a number of health-orientated objectives put in place to include physical, mental, social, emotional, occupational, spiritual, financial and intellectual wellness of its staff members.
Further, budgetary provision needs to be made for planned activities, and to ensure that the wellness committee – headed by the newly elected Wellness Officer Mirjam Valombola – is fully functional.
Improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, job satisfaction, boosted morale and promoting health beyond the workplace to empower those at home and in the community, are just some of the ways the wellness programme will benefit staff.
Swarts says selected and trained peer-educators will be able to perform their wellness duties during working hours, as these activities form part of their job descriptions within reason and approval of the supervisor of the specific department. The first wellness committee training session will be held on June 19.
Meanwhile, Swakopmund Mayor Paulina Nashilundo, who officially launched the policy, said in her address that it is vital that council help its employees reach their optimum performance level by providing access to health awareness programmes.
“The existence of personal and work-related problems amongst our staff members who spend a large percentage of their life at work, casts a negative influence on service delivery. As a result Swakopmund Municipality recognises its responsibility to create and maintain a healthy working environment and support group through the adoption of this wellness policy,” she said.
“Not one of us are immune to the multiple social challenges our staff members face on a daily basis, yet they are still expected to be productive at work,” she noted.