The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has launched its Employee Health and Well-Being Programme (EHAWP) to help improve the health of staff and enhance productivity in the workplace.
The programme, which would start from the GHS headquarters, and eventually to the regions, reinforces the commitment of the Service to improve the wellbeing as well as the productivity and performance of its staff.
Dr Gloria Quansah Asare, Deputy Director General, GHS, said the promotion of health at work was about empowering and enabling all people at work to have the chance to live healthy lives.
This, she said, can be achieved by being up to date with latest developments and constant review of existing practices and standards.
She said protecting workers was not a luxury to be sacrificed and employee health and wellbeing was an engagement and a responsibility which could add value and give new impetus to a process of generating sustainable development and at the same time successful service deliveries.
Dr Quansah Asare said the Service had set out to provide and prudently manage comprehensive and accessible quality health service in accordance with approved national policies, with the goal to have a healthy population that has universal access to quality health services, including themselves.
She said as a sector they were implementing various activities towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage and the SDGs by the year 2030, and yet many health workers were confronted with health issues from diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity among others.
“As health service providers, we cannot take effective care of others when we ourselves fail to take good care of ourselves. We need to take a critical look at the conditions and environment under which our staff work, hence the introduction of EHAWP.”
She said there was the need to work together to cultivate a safe and healthy work environment as it formed the basis for a more productive and engaged workforce through shared commitment of management and employees in every unit of the Service.
Dr Quansah Asare commended hardworking health professionals for their enormous contribution towards the substantial progress made in the health sector in spite of numerous constraints confronting their work, adding that the GHS was committed and was making every effort to improve and maintain a healthy workforce.
“Through this effort, the Service has closely worked with the Ministry of Health to develop the occupational health and safety policy and guidelines for the health sector, aimed at promoting and preventing ill health among its staff, so the Service as a whole can function to its maximum.
She also implored health workers particularly those in the public health sector who show disrespect in the performance of their duties to desist from it as it tended to tarnish the image of the health sector.
“We must be mindful of the peculiarity of your profession and be guided at all times by the Patient Charter and Code of Conduct. We need to ensure that the negative perceptions by sections of the public are corrected by making frantic efforts to improve customer care and client satisfaction.”
Dr Car S. Osei, Programme Manager, Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, said employees of the heath sector worked in potentially hazardous work environment, where they were often exposed to a wide range of hazards, including, physical, chemical, biological and economic hazard relating in work related ill-health including injury, or death.
He said the promotion of a safe and healthy work environment for the health sector employee was important, and this programme would serve as a vehicle for delivering a more holistic package of interventions aimed at promoting not only employee health and safety but also well-being.
He said the concept of well-being has to do with positive emotions and moods and happiness at work place, with the absence of negative emotions, anxiety, stress and depression.
Dr Osei said the programme would combine both the concepts of well-being and health, which would follow a continued improvement cycle, to improve the quality of life and productivity of workers.
He noted that the programme was an ethical thing to do and organizations that failed to provide ‘heal thy work environment’ left the employees, their family and public with undue risk and human suffering, whereas adhering to such principles increases long term productivity of services.
“This programme if well supported can provide avenues for addressing not only the huge burden of diseases but also risk factors, economic, emotions and job satisfaction.”