The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, has urged Civil Servants to make the best use of the services being offered by the newly established Employee Wellness Centre, to promote a healthier and more productive workforce. The Head of Service made the call at the commissioning ceremony of the Centre within the Federal Secre Complex, Phase 2, Abuja on 17th January, 2023.
She urged Civil Servants to eschew sedentary lifestyles which contribute greatly to poor health, occasioned by ailments caused, majorly, by stress. “A healthy body translates into significant reduction in medical conditions, thereby enhancing the output of workers, in particular, and the attainment of national developmental goals, in general,” she said.
Seminars on topical health issues, mental health counselling and the promotion of regular health screening for early detection of medical conditions are some of the services the Centre is envisaged to provide, according to her. She further explained that the world is witnessing an unprecedented rise in work-related diseases, sudden deaths and other health challenges that impact negatively on the overall wellbeing of workers, as well as their productivity.
She informed the audience that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that about 2.3 million workers around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases, every year. This, according to the Organisation, corresponds to 6,000 deaths, every single day, which necessitates greater attention to be paid to the health and safety of the workforce, who are the empirical engine of development and most critical resource of the nation, she added.
Dr. Yemi-Esan, described the establishment of the Employee Wellness Centre within the Federal Secretariat Complex as one of the most proactive responses by the Federal Government to the critical need of mitigating preventable medical conditions, which have become prevalent in society, in general and amongst Civil Servants, in particular.
She revealed that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration has taken proactive measures toward enhancing the value proposition and welfare of Civil Servants, as articulated in the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021 – 2025 (FCSSIP 25). She further stated that the incorporation of Staff Welfare as one of the six (6) pillars of the Strategy underscores the value Government places on the lives and wellbeing of workers, not only as citizens but as a privileged section of the population that is saddled with the responsibility of driving development, through policy formulation, as well as implementation.
The Head of Service of the Federation enjoined Civil Servants to seek useful, adequate and accurate information on common health conditions and how to prevent or successfully manage them, stating that the need to comprehensively pay attention to one’s health status is more crucial. This, she explained, was due to the sedentary nature of the jobs civil servants do, coupled with the tendency to be solely committed to the demands of the Office, thereby neglecting one’s physical well-being.
She further reaffirmed the commitment of Government, through the OHCSF, to provide leadership and coordination of the initiative in all Ministries, extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs). She urged them to leverage on other crucial enablers of the Plan such as the promotion of Culture Change, frequent and adequate sensitization on a healthier lifestyle amongst workers and exploring partnerships for the establishment of their Wellness Centres, adding that government could not achieve it alone.
The Head of Service thanked the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs) for providing major support for the establishment of the Centre, in line with ‘Goal 3’ of the SDGs, which borders on “Good Health and Well-Being,”adding that she looks forward to a continued partnership towards ensuring that the Centre continues to function optimally.
Earlier, the SSAP-SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, OFR, said that the Centre was modified and equipped by the OSSAP-SDGs and handed over to the OHCSF for commissioning and management. She also stressed that the establishment of the Centre is to promote good health and well-being of Civil Servants, in line with Goal 3 of the SDGs. She was represented by the Director, Administration, Mrs Ijeoma Ukaejiofor.
Earlier in her Welcome Address, the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office (SWO) – OHCSF, Dr Ngozi Onwudiwe, stated that the Wellness Centre is a demonstration of the continuous drive of the Head of Service to showcase commitment to the welfare of workers as captured in the FCSSIP25.
Dr. Onwudiwe disclosed that the Centre is not another clinic but a physical wellness Centre, where Civil Servants can regularly check their blood pressures, blood sugar levels, amongst others, as well as properly manage their health statuses.
In their various Goodwill Messages at the occasion, the Permanent Secretaries of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mr Adesola Olusade and that of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Mamuda Mamman and a representative of the Labour Unions, Mr Gideon Peters, unanimously praised the leadership of the Service for always making staff welfare a top priority.