By Momodou Jawo
The Medical Research Council The Gambia on Monday officially opened its wellbeing, health, safety and environment awareness week.
The forum, held at the MRCG ground also witnessed the launching of the Worker’s Support and Solidarity Fund (WOSSOF). The management of the Units also presented 10, 000 pounds to the Union who will run and administer the fund.
The initiative, they said, is to make money available to staff members who find themselves in financial crisis owing to illness or some other misfortune which may befall them.
Speaking at the forum, the World Health Organisation Representative in The Gambia Dr. Desta A Tiruneh underscored the significance of the gathering. He said WHO this year, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day (observed on 10 October each year), is drawing global attention to the need to promote mental health at work places as a means of creating healthier conditions for workers and their employers around the world.
The WHO, he added, believes that workers represent half the world’s population and are the major contributors to economic and social development. He said their health is determined not only by workplace hazards but also by social and individual factors and access to health services.
The MRCG Unit Director Prof Umberto D’Alessandro said his unit is committed toward the wellbeing of its staff. “We want to empower our workers by providing them with information and options to allow them to adopt healthy lifestyles and also create a healthy and safe work environment.”
He said they want to have healthy workers working in a safe working environment, saying that organisation is only strong as its employees.
The deputy director of Health Services Samba Ceesay said wellbeing and health, safety and environment awareness are important not only for the health of the individual worker but for the survival and productivity of the institution and agency.
Mr. Ceesay stated that available data informs us that every year over 100 million workers get injured and over 200, 000 workers die each year in occupational accidents. He added that health care workers are exposed to a complex variety of health and safety hazards everyday including, biological hazards, such as TB, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS among others.