The Botswana Bureau of Standards managing director on Friday affirmed her corporation’s firm stance over the health status of its employees, insisting that confidentiality is amongst “the cornerstones of the institution’s unbreakable principles”.
Tasked with the responsibilities of establishing national standards, promoting and facilitating implementation, BOBS management, concerned over the welfare of its employees, for the rest of this week embarked on a rigorous check-up and screening of the staff under the theme ‘Wellness week 2010′. Chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, were diagnosed by specialists from the health sector.
“The aim is to help employees to identify these lifestyle chronic illnesses and manage them effectively before they cause serious harm to health, work ability and performance,” Masego Marobela, the BOBS MD, told the employees. “There is a need to also explain their benefits in order for us to better understand them. It is critical to assure employees that confidentiality will always be guaranteed while using the services.”
She added, “I have found a general sense of mistrust among some employees about management initiated programmes with the fear that by making use of these programmes somehow, the information shared with professionals will be used against them by the employer.
“Do not be afraid; this is a noble exercise, which must be embraced and appreciated because it is not designed to discriminate against any employee,” Marobela said.
She noted that there is a wrong perception among some that these programmes are an unnecessary expense for an organization, and called this “a misplaced sentiment she would dare not buy”.
“Ideally I believe these programmes should be viewed and used as strategic business management tools not merely as irrelevant operational tools with little or no alignment to the overall business strategy and achievement of organizational goals,” Marobela insisted, saying, “However, benefits can only be enjoyed if the programmes are correctly implemented for the correct strategic and operational reasons by qualified and experienced service providers.
“And I must say we have had that at BOBS since Monday and will continue along the same lines today (Friday) and this will certainly assist us in becoming a forward looking organization,” she added.
Lifestyle diseases, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, especially amongst middle aged employees, partly precipitated by inactive and high paced lifestyles, are some of the reasons more and more organizations are implementing pro-active health screening programmes beyond HIV/AIDS- a transformation her organization would not fold arms and let pass by without taking part.
To ensure the message reaches home, BOBS employed the services of renowned pediatric HIV specialist, Parth Mehta, OMT ergonomics consultant Ogona Tshoswane, Tapiwa Chiwanga from Sister Health agency and a nutritionist from the Ministry of Health both of whom talked about the importance of living a healthy life away from excessive alcohol and smoking – the leisure activities attributable to obesity, cancer and other chronic diseases.