PLANS TO UNVEIL PUBLIC SERVICE HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAM ANNOUNCED DURING PUBLIC SERVICE DAY LAUNCH

The Ministry of Governance, Public Service Reform, Citizen Empowerment, Social Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs has reintroduced its Public Service Day activities. This year’s observation comes after a four year halt in its celebrations due to the covid-19 pandemic.

A launching ceremony hosted on Friday July 15 at the State House Conference Room officially kicked off a calendar of activities leading up to public service day on December 09 2022.

Earlier this year, Government dubbed 2022, the year of health and wellness. Since the announcement all Ministries have focused on implementing plans surrounding that theme. The activities for this year’s celebration will coincide with Government’s vision and focus extensively on the wellness of public officers.

“I am pleased that we are launching a new public service health and wellness programme. This programme was developed as a response to the challenges facing our island because of the impact of Non-Communicable Diseases, and is part of our year of health and wellness in Dominica. This programme will focus on three key pillars, Evaluate, Educate and Enable. For those who will participate including me, health assessments will be an important element of the programme which will allow participants to evaluate their progress in meeting health targets during the programme. Education is key to any lifestyle change and durig this journey we will make useful information available to all participants on all aspects of health and wellness, which are critical to a healthy workforce,” stated Hon. Gretta Roberts who is the Minister for Governance, Public Service Reform, Citizen Empowerment, Social Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs.

Minister Roberts expressed her gratitude for the dedication and commitment of all public officers especially during the last two years of challenges.

“The public service of Dominica is no stranger to adversity. We have managed multiple crisis events including Tropical Storm Erika, Hurricane Maria and covid-19, all in quick succession. But through every disaster and challenge we have rebounded and rebuilt and came out on the other side stronger and better than we were before. This can be attributed in part to the dedication, commitment and resilience of our public officers,” Hon. Roberts noted.  

The celebration of activities leading up to Public Service Day is observed every two years. This program will focus on three key pillars, namely evaluate, educate and enable. Chief personnel officer, Mrs. Edith Thomas-Roberts, highlighted some of the activities leading up to Public Service Day.

“As part of the activities we will have a beautification project, and under this project we will have tree planting which will be done by individual ministries, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernization and Kalinago Upliftment. We will also have a t-shirt day. Following today’s launch, t-shirts depicting the public service logo and theme will be worn every other Friday, leading up to Public Service Day. Health and wellness programmes, sports including small goal football competitions among public officers will also form part of the calendar of activities. Family fun day - this activity is geared at creating an environment where public officers can bring their families for an afternoon of fun and entertainment. This event will take place at the Botanical Gardens. Ministries will be expected to present unique, interesting and fun activities,” Mrs. Thomas-Roberts explained.  

The family fun day activity at the Botanical Gardens will culminate with a movie from 6pm. A treasure hunt day is also part of this year’s activities.

 CPO Roberts says this is a time to encourage fun and fellowship.

“Tokens will be hidden and clues will be placed in various Ministries and Government offices. All officers will be notified via email on the morning of the event. As a Christian nation, we are mindful to acknowledge the present of God in all our endeavors, and to give thanks for his sustaining grace and many blessings. Therefore a thanksgiving service will be held on December 5th 2022. The activity will climax with the awards and recognition ceremony on Friday, December 9 2022 and will be in honour and recognition of retirees as well as public officers who have excelled in various categories,” the CPO noted.

Acting Secretary to the Cabinet, Ms. Careen Prevost is pleased with the inclusion of health and wellness in these events. She says the management of NCD’s requires a multi-sectoral approach, hence Government’s intervention in that aspect.

“The public service of Dominica has over four thousand employees, some of whom, and some of us here today, are impacted by NCDs. The high incidence of NCDs among public officers often leads to absenteeism, financial insecurity, lack of productivity, severe illnesses, high health care costs and sometimes even death. We do know some public officers who may not have lived to see, or enjoy their retirement. We know that the public service, as the largest employer in Dominica, is a reflection of the larger society and the issues of non-communicable diseases continue to plague us in the public sector,” Ms. Prevost stated.

Ms. Prevost says the plan is to engage public officers in these fitness activities.

“The Employee Wellness Programme will be open to all public officers beginning this month, July and will run for an initial period of six months and will include three components, evaluate, educate and enable. We will begin with health assessments, which is very important. Public officers will be medically assessed to provide the individual officer with an understanding of their current health status. This will also allow officers to monitor their progress during this period. Health assessments and evaluation will be undertaken by the Ministry of Health. We plan to begin this next on Thursday the 21st at the Government headquarters, and also at health centres around the island. Health assessments will include blood pressure checks, blood sugar, body mass index, cholesterol tests, and the assessment will be conducted at the beginning, the middle and the end of the programme and participants will be encouraged to self-monitor during the intervals,” Ms. Prevost added.