According to the United States Center for Disease Control, a workplace health program that combines both individual and organizational strategies may produce benefits both for individual employees and their families as well as the organization as a whole. With this in mind, and also recognizing that healthy workers equals not only better returns but happier employees, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa hosted its first ever employee Health & Wellness Fair on Wednesday 20th, April, 2016 from 10 am to 4 pm.
Recognizing the importance of such an activity, and due to the resounding success of the fair, based on the positive feedback from the staff, the resort intends to make this an annual event. In addition, Dahlia Graham the Human Resource Director of the resort, which is located in Vieux Fort and employs over 400 staff, says there will be follow-ups to Wednesday’s activity.
The STAR visited the one day Health & Wellness Fair and engaged some staff members and exhibitors during the activity. According to the HR Director, she felt compelled to organize the fair given the alarming rate of cancer and diabetes on the island among other chronic diseases and health issues.
“In my professional career I have always done health fairs but really, what pushed me to do this one was the somewhat depressing news about some of the chronic diseases and poor nutritional practices we are faced with on-island,’ Graham said. “But also from a holistic standpoint I felt it was important to give staff an education about their financial health and so some of our partners at the fair were Scotiabank, the Laborie Credit Union and the National Insurance Cooperation,” she informed the STAR.
Other booths and presenters at Wednesday’s fair included the Ministry of Agriculture making a case for more nutritional foods and backyard gardens, Oncologist Owen Gabriel, Herbalist Gilbertha St. Rose of Eden Herbs and the resort’s own doctor, Dr. Beaubrun. There were also representatives from St. Jude’s Hospital, The Ministry of Health with a focus on the Zika virus, Faces of Cancer and the Natural Fertility Center.
During our visit shortly after noon on Wednesday, more than three hundred employees had already traversed the Health and Wellness Fair interacting with facilitators and having various tests done including blood pressure checks.
“What we did was that we prepared a Health passport so as our employees went to the various booths, they had these signed and they all seemed eager and excited about the whole thing,” Graham told the STAR. Employees also received pamphlets and small tokens from the various facilitators.
One employee – Dilan who works at the bar at Coconut Bay – described the initiative as a very important one. “We are never too old to learn something new and, as men, we need to be more aware of health issues and so I am very appreciative of this fair,” he told us.
Stephen, who works in maintenance, said such an activity is a reflection of the fact that management of the resort do care about staff well-being. “Sometimes I would leave home for work in a rush on a morning and not have time for a proper breakfast, so today I was reminded of eating healthy,” Stephen said. He also took advantage of the advice given by the financial services providers.
Francisca, employed in the restaurant department, said that being from the South she was keen to learn more about St. Jude’s Hospital. She described the fair as “educational” and “very interesting”.
Charlotte Byrne, fertility therapist practitioner at the Fertility Center said she was amazed by the enthusiasm and excitement coming from the staff as well as their interest in the various issues.
Dahlia Graham said that with the backing of the resort’s CEO Mark Adams, she set out to organize the fair hoping for the best. “I am now overwhelmed and more than happy we were able to give our staff access to such services and I do believe that this was a success,” she said.
The intention now is to make the Coconut Bay Health and Wellness Fair an annual event. However, in between that time the HR Director says there will be constant follow-up with staff and the posting of bulletins and notices in the staff canteen and at strategically placed points at the resort.