- ‘Smoke-Free’ Government policy in place from 1 July 2018
- Launch of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) offer and smoking cessation support from July 2018
- Phase 1 of the Merchants Partnership – Sugar-free drinks ranges (July-Dec 2018)
- Workforce Wellbeing starter programme (Jun-Dec 2018)
- Healthy Hospital Food from August 2018
- Short Walks promotion – local Island-wide routes (Nov-Dec 2018)
St Helena’s Health Promotion Strategic Framework (HPSF) 2018-19, launched in May last year, outlined a new strategic approach for primary prevention of the major chronic (non-communicable) diseases on the Island. It placed emphasis on creating an environment where healthier choices are more available, are easier to access and are attractive on St Helena to reduce overweight/obesity and smoking which are the leading preventable risk factors in the Island community.
A wide range of stakeholder partners in the community and across SHG have been involved in supporting and co-delivering the HPSF and key outputs under the strategy for 2018 which are showing some early impact include:
‘Smoke-Free’ Government policy and launch of smoking cessation support
The ‘Smoke-Free’ Government policy does not allow smoking by staff or members of the public in all areas, inside and outside across government sites. SHG staff additionally can no longer have additional ‘smoking breaks’ and can smoke off-site only in their lunchtime. Smoking cessation was launched, along with a period of free Nicotine-Replacement Therapy to support people wanting to quit.
Since 1 July 2018:
- 139 people have received smoking cessation advice and support from health staff and all 139 have received nicotine replacement therapy
- A recent survey indicates that 68% of responders have seen benefits, particularly reduced second-hand smoke exposure in certain areas, and increased numbers of smokers trying to quit or cut down. The survey also showed that a majority believe the policy makes a helpful contribution to reducing smoking and helping people quit
Phase 1 of the Merchants Partnership has focused on increasing supply, availability and consumption of sugar-free drinks to substitute for sugary drinks between the periods July/August and December 2018.
All participating merchants and venues reported increased supply for the initiative starting July/August 2018 and several have expanded the sugar-free drinks range.
Early data suggests a substantial and positive shift in supply and sales across the range of sugar free drinks options, and also that people are increasingly substituting these for sugar-sweetened versions.
The pilot period demonstrated that supply of sugar-free options can be increased and that there is a strong demand. It is anticipated that availability of these healthier options will continue to grow over time.
A Workforce Wellbeing starter programme was supported across all Directorates from August 2018. This was to test options and build ownership and engagement by each Directorate of their own wellbeing.
- Personal Wellbeing MOTs are going on across Directorates, now having included 150 staff – that is 17% of the whole SHG workforce
- 30 minutes of ‘activity time’ for employees was introduced. Various activities were trialled in Directorates to find what worked well for staff
- Team Challenges were held to encourage health-related lifestyle changes. Staff chose their challenges, including cutting out junk food/ drink items, cutting down on adding sugar, losing weight, and drinking more water
- By the end of 2018, the various programme parts had engaged more than the 328 target staff in at least one part
Healthy Hospital Food
An adjusted in-patient menu was developed with the Hospital kitchen team and the menu was trialled over August and implemented from 1 September onwards for all in-patient food and drink.
Recommendations on what families and visitors bring in for patients have also been implemented with visitors receiving advice and information about what to bring or not bring.
The aim was to provide and promote to the community and other establishments an example of ‘small changes for a big health difference’.
Feedback from patients, visitors and staff has been helpful in developing the initiative and the model is now being shared with other community institutions.
Short Walks Promotion
Walking was shown in locally-focused research early last year to be the most achievable, accessible option for community members to increase their physical activity.
A series of shorter, accessible walks around all parts of the Island was developed with input from the community and SHG partners. Maps of the easy-walk routes in each district were provided online (http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/step-on-it-st-helena/), on social media, and in print form. These have been used for promotion of the ‘easy to fit in’ nature of walking and its health benefits from November onward.
Early indications suggest that a broader range of community members are now fitting in some type of activity.
More data on the various parts of the strategy and how it is contributing to health will be available later in the year.
Next week we take a look at planned delivery of the HPSF in 2019.
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18 February 2019