Sat | Jul 20, 2019

WRHA wants more companies to establish health and wellness programmes

Published:Friday | July 12, 2019 | 12:24 AM
Regional health promotion and education officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Marcelene Wheatle (right), converses with human resource manager at 24-7 Intouch, Ann-Marie Green (left), during the launch of the company’s corporate wellness programme at its office in Freeport, Montego Bay, St James, on July 3.
Regional health promotion and education officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Marcelene Wheatle (right), converses with human resource manager at 24-7 Intouch, Ann-Marie Green (left), during the launch of the company’s corporate wellness programme at its office in Freeport, Montego Bay, St James, on July 3.

The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) is encouraging more corporate entities in St James to establish health and wellness programmes for employees.

Regional health promotion and education officer at the WRHA, Marcelene Wheatle, says more than 20 corporate entities in the parish have taken steps to develop health and wellness programmes for staff, and the authority is ­making an effort to engage more companies to join the thrust.

“If they (corporate entities) want to be good corporate citizens, they should consider implementing a workplace wellness programme. Presently, as part of the thrust of the minister of health and ­wellness, Dr the Hon. Christopher Tufton, we (the ministry) want to increase the number before year end,” she said.

Wheatle was speaking with JIS News following the launch of global customer care and technology company, 24-7 Intouch’s, corporate wellness programme recently at the company’s office in Freeport, Montego Bay, St James.

“Thirty minutes of physical ­activity five days per week is the take-home message we are ­pushing for our workplaces and any other wellness initiative. We want individuals to get physically active, because data is showing that a great portion of the Jamaican population is inactive,” Wheatle said.

She argued that a healthy workforce will likely result in enhanced productivity and can lead to substantial healthcare cost-saving opportunities.

“Evidence has shown that within a workplace wellness programme, with peer support, it goes a long way. In terms of the cost factor, you would have reduced absenteeism, as well as [there is] the likelihood of less health insurance being paid, so these are some long-term ­b­enefits,” Wheatle noted.