Bank Windhoek encourages employee respiratory health

Bank Windhoek’s visiting on-site clinic recently hosted employees for a two-day second Respiratory Health Clinic in Windhoek. Combined with a Breathe Easier THan bEfore campaign, the clinic conducted free lung function tests and a Smoking Cessation Programme.

Situated at the Bank’s Human Capital Department, the on-site clinic collaborated with Lindsay Zurba, a respiratory healthcare specialist who encouraged and educated employees, including those of Bank Windhoek’s holdings company Capricorn Group, on the benefits of a healthy respiratory system and how to quit smoking and its health benefits.

Employees welcomed the initiative, as the clinic was fully booked. Those with chronic symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, a tight chest and wheezing were invited to make use of this opportunity to get advice and support on any respiratory related health matter. “Breathing well-being related difficulties such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, were examined during the campaign,” said Bank Windhoek’s Corporate Wellness Consultant, Marjolize Scholtz.

Zurba has over 20 years’ experience in the area of respiratory healthcare, including degree level modules in Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Smoking Cessation and Spirometry. She is also a certified Asthma Educator and teaches for the National Asthma Education Programme. She has taught Spirometry, which measures airflow, throughout Africa for the past 19 years.

“A spirometry test requires an individual to breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. By measuring how much air is exhaled and how quickly the individual exhales, spirometry can then evaluate a broad range of lung diseases,” said Zurba.

Stop smoking

Bank Windhoek’s Business Efficiency Improvement Officer, Barend Van der Walt, who recently quit smoking after 20 years, said: “After I lost both of my parents to cancer, coupled with high blood pressure and the constant coughing, I decided to stop smoking. There is so much to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. I feel so much more energetic, food tastes better, it is easier to fall asleep and my concentration at work has improved tremendously.”

Van der Walt encouraged other smokers to consider quitting before it is too late. “It is not easy to quit, but once you do, it feels great,” he said.

Van der Walt shared a few tips below:

• When feeling the urge to smoke, drink a glass of cold water.
• Start exercising, this helps to take your mind of smoking and will help improve the quality of sleep.
• Try relaxation exercises when feeling anxious, depressed or irritated.
• Reward yourself with the money you save.

Scholtz concluded that Bank Windhoek’s visiting on-site clinic is mandated to ensure that employee’s wellbeing is taken care of; cementing Capricorn Group as an employer of choice by providing a much-needed offering as part of its employee experience.

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