SRHA head commits to cultivating healthier workplace culture

THE Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), which administrates public health care in the parishes of Clarendon, St Elizabeth and Manchester, will be strengthening its facilities to foster a healthier workplace environment and culture.

The announcement was made by regional director for the SRHA, Michael Bent, who referred to the Ministry of Health & Wellness’s Corporate Wellness Manual, which is a guide for employers to utilise in concretising a staff wellness programme focused on physical activity, nutrition, health screening, as well as for providing an enabling environment to allow staff to carry out healthy lifestyle practices.

“I just want to assure the staff of the Southern Regional Health Authority that [the] management has bought into corporate wellness. Part of my charge to the parish managers and CEOs is to put in resources, if you haven’t yet done so, so that persons can have a place to breastfeed, although we already have it in some facilities.

“I have also asked them to put in place the amenities to encourage persons to take their meals to work so that they can eat from home. Management has bought into this and I want, as we go forward, we ensure that budgetary preparations are made for the implementation or expansion of a healthy workplace culture,” said Bent.

He was speaking at a regional breastfeeding workplace wellness forum at Golf View Hotel in Manchester on Tuesday, which was held to mark National Breastfeeding Week that was celebrated from September 17 to 22.

The forum targeted scores of government and non-government employers and encouraged them to provide an environment and culture which will support breastfeeding and wellness.

“I am hoping that this forum will not just be an event but a programme that we want to be implemented in all government and non-government organisations within the central parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth.

“As a region and an agency of the Ministry of Health & Wellness we are promoting, not just exclusive breastfeeding but a culture of wellness in the workplace. My charge to you is: ‘Let us make one step at a time together. When you get back to your different places of work, think and start doing. You don’t have to see all the monies or resources, but start the process,’ ” Bent implored.

He pointed out that, over the years, SRHA has been fostering this culture of workplace wellness, noting that of the seven public hospitals in the country to be certified baby-friendly, three of them are SRHA hospitals (Lionel Town, Black River and Mandeville Regional hospitals).

Bent added that SRHA was also the first government agency to grant paternity leave.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness launched its revised Corporate Wellness Manual as well as a physical activity page in 2021. They form part of the ministry’s drive to encourage Jamaicans to incorporate healthier lifestyle practices in their lives and daily routines, in a bid to reduce noncommunicable diseases and improve mental wellness.