Swakopmund municipality launches HIV/AIDS, Health and Wellness Management Policy

The Swakopmund municipality has launched an HIV/AIDS, Health and Wellness Management policy for local authorities in Namibia. The purpose of the policy is to comply and better coordinate the response on HIV/AIDS in line with national and international instruments.
“Workplace wellness is an organised program to assist and support employees in establishing healthier lifestyles. The program entails increasing employee awareness on health topics, scheduling behaviour change programs, and/or establishing company policies that support health-related objectives,” said Swakopmunds Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Marco Swarts during the launch of the policy. Members of the community, learners and employees of the municipality attended the recent event.
Swarts added in view of continuous health and wellness challenges within local authorities, the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leader’s Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level, also known as AMI-CAALL, in cooperation with ALAN (Association of Local Authorities in Namibia) and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development have developed a wellness policy on HIV/ AIDS, health and wellness management for local authorities in Namibia. The HIV/AIDS, health and wellness management for local authorities in Namibia policy was signed by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development for adoption by all Local Authorities in Namibia.
According to Swarts the objectives of the policy are as follows: to meet wellness needs of the employees of the local authority through preventive and curative measures; to promote the physical, mental, social, emotional, occupational, spiritual, financial and intellectual wellness of employees; to create an organisational climate and culture that is conducive to wellness and comprehensive identification of psychosocial health risk; to establish and maintain a safe, hazard-free process and low infection-risk workplace; to prevent new infections, provide care and support to infected and affected employees, in order to alleviate stress, stigma and fear among others; to create a workplace environment where discrimination based on HIV/AIDS and other health related illnesses will be reduced; and to promote work-life balance through the program which will assist employees in meaningful daily achievements and enjoyment in each of the four life quadrants namely: work, family, friends and self.
During the launch of the policy peer-educators, who have been selected according to the provided guidelines and who are capacitated to be able to perform their duties effectively, were introduced to the community. “The trained peer-educators should be allowed to perform their duties during work hours as these activities form part of their job descriptions within reason and approval of the supervisor or General Manager of specific department,” Swarts said. He calls upon all general managers, managers and supervisors to render their optimal support to the peer educators. “If we have to achieve the UNAIDS target by 2020 which is only two years away. We need to work very hard.” The peer-educators are Councillor Maria Elago, Sister Mariam Walombola, Mr Penduleni Shiimi, Mr Petrus Tjipute and Marinda Bahr.

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