Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
THE private sector needs to invest more in health and wellness programmes at workplaces as Zimbabwe pushes its health agenda, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, said yesterday.
He challenged the corporate world to come up with schemes that allow smaller and micro businesses to emulate their larger counterparts in investing in the health and wellness of their employees.
The Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness held a chief executive officers’ breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday, running under the theme: “Workplace Wellness, A Business Imperative, Perspective beyond Covid-19.”
VP Chiwenga acknowledged that a good slice of the business community was engaged on workers health, but mainly the larger companies who were also supporting the Government in efforts to upgrade facilities to combat Covid-19.
“Let me underscore that my coming to this forum is part of Government’s drive to engage the private sector on fundamental socio-economic matters, with a view to appreciate its concerns and share ideas on how we can work together to build our country,” said VP Chiwenga.
“Be that as it may, my Ministry acknowledges that public-private partnership in health delivery is a key component in the national health delivery strategy, as demonstrated by the support rendered during the Covid-19 pandemic, and as espoused in the National Development Strategy 1.
“I am delighted to commend the private sector for the crucial role they played in rehabilitating health infrastructure, supplying commodities as well as providing primary and tertiary health support. Similar support has been witnessed during national disasters like Cyclone Idai”.
The aim of Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness is to provide management capacities, as well as capacitate implementing agencies in the private sector and corporates.
The provision of such workplace wellness programmes is a significant platform for prevention and education on wellness matters, thus, making programmes a strategic imperative.
“In that regard, it is pleasing to note that some big private sector companies like Hippo Valley, Tongaat Huletts, Zimplats, Delta Beverages and others, have embraced such comprehensive workplace wellness initiatives,” said VP Chiwenga.
“This is in recognition of the human capital as the most important, valuable and rarest strategic asset in any company’s inventory and their contribution to the bottom line.
“It is my fervent hope that this breakfast meeting will come up with recommendations to provide regular feedback on private sector contribution to health and wellness in
our overall national health response.
“Going forward, Government challenges the private sector to invest more in health and wellness programmes at their workplaces. There is a need to initiate wellness programmes to cater for the medium, small and micro-businesses as they constitute a huge population and present the greatest risk to wellness.
“I, therefore, challenge the Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness to initiate programmes in this critical sector.”
His Ministry was also working on programmes that cater for the well-being of the citizenry.
Zimbabwe has won global commendation for the way it has handled the global Covid-19, but is on record that there exist gaps in other areas which should be looked at as a way of achieving universal health coverage.
“Let me add that there are on-going wellness conditions, which we should not lose sight of. My Ministry is very concerned with the impact non-communicable diseases like cancer, hypertension and obesity, have on people’s health and well-being.
“These should not be neglected. Sadly, the contemporary challenges of substance abuse and stress are having a huge effect on our populations, especially the youth.
“As part of your corporate social investment programmes, I am appealing to you to invest in intervention strategies that mitigate these wellness tragedies,” said VP Chiwenga.