A BANK has strengthened its commitment to increase awareness of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their harmful effects and to build advocacy around the need for physical activity.
The move is part of the partnership renewal between the Westpac Banking Corporation, the Health Ministry and Fiji Physiotherapy Association to continue the 'Westpac morning walk 'for a further three years.
The bank's physical activity champion and head of credit and risk, Mark Turner, said the partnership and initiative was a first for a commercial bank to take a lead role in a national awareness health program.
"This is something that we are proud and delighted about," Mr Turner said.
"Internally we are running our health and well-being program in an endeavour to improve the health of our staff who are after all the most important asset of the bank."
The ministry's chief adviser for health promotion, Doctor Pita Vuniqumu, said the walk would provide the public the opportunity to learn important health issues.
"These services provided by the ministry are free of charge and aimed at encouraging the public to be aware of their health status."
Fiji Physiotherapy Association president Cathy Wong said the lack of physical activity in Fiji had been identified as one of the major contributing factors towards NCDs.
"We now have evidence that states 'sitting time' is the fifth contributor to developing NCDs," said Ms Wong.
She said with the bank's vision of promoting a healthy workplace, the ministry's vision of developing a healthy nation and the physiotherapy mission of providing effective and efficient health care, the partnership could be seen as a pilot for others to follow.
There are four walks scheduled for this year that aims for a healthy nation.
With the theme 'Leading the way for a Healthy Nation', the walks have been scheduled for March 2, April 20, July 20 and October 19.
Members of the public usually come out in numbers to support the walks which are healthy moves in the fight against NCDs.