Hon. Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Health and Medical Services officially opens the Health and Wellness Week.
The Fijian Minister for Health and Medical Services, Honourable Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete officially opened The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Annual Health and Wellness Week on 29 April 2019.
The Health and Wellness Week, which is being run from 20 April – 2 Mayis aimed at bringing together staff and students with a major focus on encouraging, discovering, improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle on a budget.
This is the seventh year that the University has adopted this idea of wellness and fitness by engaging the staff and students to move towards healthy lifestyles.
In his address, Hon. Dr Waqainabete highlighted that about fifty per cent (50%) of the Pacific population are below the age of twenty five (25), and a significant part of USP population are within this age cohort.
Therefore, he said that changing mindset at tertiary institutions forms an important part of the solution to health and wellbeing, and events such as the Health and Wellness Week is a great platform of empowering students to make informed choices for their health and wellness.
NCD’s, Hon. Dr Waqainabete noted, is more of social issue rather than a medical issue, adding that, “your health is the direct effect of what you eat and how you maintain it through physical activity.”
He said that nutrition and exercise remain the key challenge to the solution to NCD crisis, and that there is a need to keep searching for innovative ways and partner with organisations in ensuring quality lives through healthy meals and exercise.
“We must focus on replacing illness with wellness and this can be done if we all play our part. Do not wait to fall unwell to practice wellness,” Hon. Dr Waqainabete stressed.
In the bid to celebrate the week-long programme at USP, Hon. Dr Waqainabete suggested some points for further dialogue and deliberation by the University, and these include:
The need to strive towards improving availability, accessibility and affordability of healthy foods;
Improve the menu of sports and exercise available to all students on campus;
Make water the most accessible drink on campus; and
Make USP not only a knowledge based institution but also an environment that promotes health and wellbeing.
As part of the 2019 Health and Wellness Week, which is being organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, includes activities such as blood drive, medical screening, oral health checks, mental health awareness, Health Walk, reproductive health clinic, cooking demonstration, Zumba and fitness sessions, and free tennis and swimming lessons.
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