REJUVENATED Medical funder Premier Service Medical Aid Society has stepped up its awareness campaign against Non Communicable Diseases (NCD), by rolling out a national campaign to promote lifestyle changes.
The Premier Lifestyle programme, now in full steam, has reached places as far apart as Chipinge, Beitbridge and Mount Darwin and continues to cover ground as it spreads. Under Premier Lifestyle, PSMAS is encouraging its members and the nation at large to focus on staying healthy and improving their quality of life through careful management of diet, exercise and medication where necessary. NCDs are now the leading cause of death among Zimbabweans, with about 31 percent of all deaths attributed to them, according to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Some statistics that led to PSMAS taking this bold step forward include:
l 39 percent of Zimbabweans suffer from raised Blood Pressure
l 40 percent of people suffer from Stress, Anxiety and Depression (SAD)
l About 26,2 percent of the population is overweight
l 8,4 percent of the population is obese
These statistics led to a realisation that the health of the nation was at risk and drastic action needed to be taken. Since the beginning of the year Premier Lifestyle has been screening PSMAS members and helping them to build a profile of their health risk. This will help each member to identify the actions they need to take in order to prevent potential danger. The programme dispenses advice and courses of action, including dietary changes, exercise regimes and referral for medical attention in cases where there is need to do so.
Premier Lifestyle is only just beginning. The next phase of the programme will see it leveraging technology to launch technology that will help members enrolled on the programme keep a closer watch over their well-being. PSMAS encourages members to regularly check their vital readings such as blood sugar, and blood pressure, and the Society has opened a Wellness Centre at its Head Office on George Silundika Avenue in Harare, with similar centres to be rolled out throughout the Society’s 12 branches and in other spaces.
To date, the programme has touched people in all sectors of the country, from the informal sector, civil service and the private sector. Premier Lifestyle is but one of several innovations the 87 year old medical insurer is introducing as it repositions itself as the premier player in its field. The Society recently launched Shield Plan, a low cost, high benefit plan for the informal sector.
It also joined Deloitte tip-offs Anonymous as it re-establishes its credibility.
The writer is PSMAS’ Public Relations Manager