Sunday, May 29, 2022

Ailing workforce stirs concern

The Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Maxwell Motowane, has revealed that his Ministry continues to face challenges due to diseases affecting his workforce. Statistics from the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the month of August alone show that 142 man working days were lost due to sick leave obtained by employees.

Speaking during a wellness day organised by his Ministry last week in Francistown, the Ministry had found it imperative to sensitize its employees and the public on the importance of healthy living.
“Not only are chronic diseases a public health challenge, but they also pose serious challenges to the future of Botswana’s socio economic development,” he said.

Motowane said for any economy to grow, there was need for healthy human capital.

As such, Batswana need to take personal responsibility, which includes leadership, testing for HIV/AIDS, taking the lead in accessing services and being self accountable in society.

He revealed that his Ministry has a mandate to ensure that the local economy is improved significantly by giving direction to both the public sector and private sector on the production of competitive goods and services.

“The socio-impact caused by diseases such as HIV/AIDS cannot be over-emphasized and this is premised on the fact that a sickly workforce is normally rendered unproductive due to many factors,” he said.

He added that serious diseases, like HIV/AIDS, can increase the rate of absenteeism in the workplace, which then negates on productivity. Motowane said that life threatening diseases can result in reduced labour force, low morale, discipline and the concentration of other employees can be disrupted by the frequent deaths of colleagues.

“World Health Organization (WHO) report indicates that Botswana has the second highest prevalence rate in the world with over 2 percent of adults between ages of 15 and 49 living with HIV,” said Motowane.

He stressed that Batswana need not ignore the fact that adults form the major part for the current and the future workforce. He added that this challenge explains why most local organizations and companies are struggling to get both skilled and unskilled employees and thus faced low productivity.

The Wellness Day was organized in collaboration with the Department of Public Health, Oral Health, Department of HIV Prevention and Care, District Health Management Team, Botswana Defence Force, Tebelopele Voluntary Counselling and the Youth Health Organization.

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