Free medical check ups and free medical advice on Cancer and Diabetes were given to hundreds of workers belonging to the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU).
The workers were able to benefit from this initiative which was made possible through the staging of the 7th annual Health Safety and Wellness Week which took place under the auspices of the union’s Occupational Health and Safety Officer, Godwin Thomas.
The programme started last week Monday at the Grenada Breweries Limited at Grand Anse and ended on Friday at the Grenada Airports Authority in which health sessions were conducted by a number of Medical Doctors.
According to Union boss, Senator Chester Humphrey, the trade union body has been holding these health clinics and health fairs in which “the Doctors that we have on the team will run a number of diagnostic tests of the workers”.
“…Our programme has touched over 2000 workers, more like 4000 workers have been positively impacted by this programme. We have been able to pick up a number of workers with serious hypertension who were not aware that they have hypertension…we’ve been able to detect a number of fairly advanced diabetes,” he said.
Humphrey who holds the title of President General of TAWU pointed out that these activities are needed in the workplace to help provide efficiency in delivering service.
“We have a macho culture, primarily among men, people don’t go to the doctor until they feel real dogged sick and there are many chronic diseases which don’t show any painful symptoms. So high blood pressure which is described, as the silent killer… you can have serious high blood pressure and the only time that you would discover it is if you have a stroke or you have a serious heart attack…”, he said.
“…Because we have this macho society, men generally associate going to the doctor as being unmanly and many workers have fallen victim and as you know when the key bread winner, especially with a chronic illness or a debilitating illness like a stroke, it can throw the entire family into fiscal and unnerving crises,” he added.
Sen Humphrey noted that there has been rising incidence of substance abuse (narcotics and alcohol) at the workplace and the Union has been assisting workers to get back on their feet.
“Rather than have the workers fired, our Health and Safety Department makes an early intervention. When the Health and Safety committee recognises that a worker has a substance abuse problem that matter is reported to the Union… the Union will organise for that worker to get psychological help and counseling,” he remarked.
The veteran trade union leader said the Union sees this as a necessary part of the service to be provided to workers and members out of a recognition that it not only has to focus on what threatens workers but the things workers ought to do in order to live a very healthy lifestyle.