‘Wellness Warriors’ club to complement PAHO/WHO strategy on lifestyle diseases

– Dr Ramsaran

The Ministry of Health has announced plans to augment the Guyana Plan for the prevention of chronic lifestyle diseases, drafted in partnership with PAHO/WHO, by promoting a ‘Wellness Warriors’ club in workplaces and schools to ensure the public leads a more active existence.

Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Representative Adrianus Vlugman presented the ‘Guyana Strategic Plan for the Integrated Prevention and Control of Chronic Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors strategy 2013-2020’ to Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsaran at a ceremony held on Tuesday at the Roraima Duke Lodge.  In his address at the launching ceremony, Dr Ramsaran lauded the longstanding partnership between PAHO/WHO and the health sector. He said the ministry fully endorses the plan and will vigorously implement the policies through various physical and educational programmes.

“To make this sustainable we have to have health in all policies….we must have the whole of Government and society’s efforts involved,” he said.

As such, the ministry will be seeking ways to ensure that the public leads an active lifestyle and plans to launch the ‘Wellness Warriors’ club to facilitate same. The ministry is examining whether land space close to its Brickdam office can be used to establish a wellness park to promote physical activities for employees from nearby entities. It further plans to promote the strategy by working with larger groups or entities such as Qualfon, and the banks.

The ministry will also be engaging schools to adopt the concept of Wellness Warriors to ensure that youth lead active lifestyles through physical education and recreational activities.

“We hope that we will be able to train every senior student in such a way that they will be competent to be able to test blood pressure and sugar so you will not have a nurse or medex doing such simple task,” Dr Ramsaran said. The ministry also intends taking steps to ensure that school canteens provide serve healthy foods and snacks.

Dr Ramsaran expressed gratitude to PAHO/WHO and all the stakeholders who contributed to the strategy.

Meanwhile, in his address Chief Medical Officer Dr Shamdeo Persaud pointed out that a multi-sectoral approach is needed to ensure that the policies within the strategy are effectively implemented. He also noted that the plan complements the numerous programmes that the ministry has in place to ensure that the nation’s people are healthy.

Also, the PAHO/WHO representative said the launch was momentous and that the organisation was pleased that such an event was held as the ministry celebrated its 111th anniversary.

“This plan is a great achievement,” he said, and that acknowledged that it will equip persons to stay healthy and prevent those diseases.