USP Health & Wellness Week to Encourage Staff and Students to Improve and Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Honourable Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete (centre); with Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Dr Giulio Paunga (next to the Hon Minister), Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Jito Vanualailai (right); Executive Director (People and Workforce Strategy), Mr Jone Nemani (left), Group Manager-Campus Life, Glenn Pope (next to Mr Nemani) and Campus Life staff and student buddies during the launch of the Health and Wellness Week.

The University of the South Pacific’s Health & Wellness week held this week at the Laucala Campus will end tomorrow, Thursday 1 April 2021.

Organised in partnership with the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services, it is bringing together staff and students with a major focus on encouraging, discovering, improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Officially launching the Health & Wellness Week on Monday 29 March, Fiji’s Minister for Health and Medical Services, Honourable Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, highlighted the week-long programme that encompasses an interactive approach to reproductive health awareness; effects of smoking and passive Smoking; medical screening; oral health checks; food, nutrition & dietary advice; heart health; mental health awareness and COVID-19 vaccine registrations.

 “The Ministry is encouraged to work alongside partners such as USP to ensure access to health services for our population,” he said.

Dr Waqainabete encouraged other institutions to work with his Ministry to improve the reach and access to services for the nation’s people.

The Health Minister said that while Fiji has made significant progress in increasing the overall life expectancy of Fijians and improving health outcomes, the major cause of mortality in Fiji is still attributable to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

“Additionally, with the advent of COVID-19, Fiji and the world are experiencing increasing levels of pressure on their health systems and communities,” he said.

On behalf of the Acting Vice Chancellor and President, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Jito Vanualailai said the Health Week is a key event in the USP calendar as it provides reinforcement to the themes of Quality, Relevance and Sustainability in the USP Strategic Plan.

“The Health & Wellness Week is a tangible commitment by the University to ensure its students and staff become aware of the need to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle while studying and working at the University,” he said.  This event will be rolled over to other USP Campuses during Semester 2 this year.

“As a responsible organisation, the University recognises the need to provide personal development and learning experiences outside the lecture room and workplace. USP Health & Wellness week is very much about seeking information, knowledge and opportunities about our health and wellness,” he said.

Professor Vanualailai added that our health (both physical and mental) is the key to being a productive person at study, work and at home and within the community.

He encouraged staff and students to take time out to commit to “Invest in Your Health”, by attending the various health awareness presentations, undertaking free medical checks as well as participating in free fitness classes and of course, participating in the Health Walk and other activities organised by USP Campus Life at the Laucala Campus.

Group Manager-Campus Life, Glenn Pope, reflecting on the start of the Health and Wellness Week said, “Ann Tarte (then Campus Life Activity Officer) and I initially came up with this concept back in 2012. We established a strong partnership with the Ministry of Health from the very start to ensure the sustainability of the concept, then called USP’s Health Week.

This year the Health and Wellness Week includes free oral health checks and abs and cardio classes as well as Government registrations for the COVID-19 Vaccination.

All staff and students at Laucala Campus are encouraged to take advantage of the many services and awareness sessions that are being offered by the Ministry of Health during the week.

USP’s Campus Life also organised a range of cooking demonstrations as part of the week-long programme to prepare nutritious meals on a budget.

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