If you live within the EU, chances are you have access to healthcare and wellbeing facilities that are state funded. Whilst, we may have complaints about the quality of our public services, we are quite fortunate to have access to basic healthcare, a service that is not readily available in most countries across worldwide.
This week’s post on goal 3, Health and Wellbeing, discusses ways your business can support the UNs Targets for improving the health and wellbeing of populations globally.
Most of the targets set are geared towards improving facilities and access to services that will reduce mortality rates in developing countries. For example, the targets are set to reduce maternal mortality rates, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services are available and end preventable deaths of new-borns and children under the age of 5.
In the West we may not have the same health problems, but we do suffer from other illnesses such as depression, anxiety, stress, obesity, diabetes, heart disease etc., the list could go on. So my post looks at what small businesses can do to achieve better health and wellbeing for their staff locally and contribute globally.
Your Local Contribution?
We all know how important physical activities are to our health, body and mind. During the summer months, we spend more time outdoors, both at work and at home. Staff at my place of work will go for a short walk with colleagues, but this dies down in the winter months. As a business, have you thought about setting up a walking club for staff to engage in at least 3 times a week regardless of the season? Getting people out and about, even if it is a 20 minute walk enables them to get out of the work environment, clear their thoughts and burn some calories.
You could go a step further and start a healthy eating club or nominate a champion to encourage staff to eat well. Staff don’t need to participate every day, getting them to commit to doing so 2 or 3 times a week is a start.
If your business is located near a leisure or sports centre, why not set up teams to participate in sports? Whilst this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it will certainly appeal to some members of the team. Rather than making the solo decision on which sport to set up, send out a ballot and see which one will be the most popular. At my current workplace, we have 2 teams, tennis and football. I’m not fond of football, so tennis tends to be my preference. I find that on days when I attend, I feel very refreshed and stress free.
Another one of my favourites is yoga. I use to attend yoga classes weekly and hope to do so again fairly soon. I noticed a leaflet that someone had pinned on the noticeboard at work which then encouraged me and some of my colleagues to get involved.
Health & wellness checks
Teaming up with your local health centre might not seem like an obvious choice, but it’s a good way to get staff to keep up with their health concerns. The NHS run various mobile health screening services, which your local health centre might be able to offer on an annual basis.
Have you thought about the mental wellbeing of your staff? Can you offer flexible working hours, time off in lieu, compressed hours? If not, this is something you could set up as a trial and see how well your staff respond to this and how productive it makes your working environment.
Your Global Contribution?
Team up with local NGOs
Look into health and wellness charities and organisations to partner with or contribute financially. Numerous workshops and services are run by small scale NGOs globally. For example, there are organisations who will supply sanitation products to remote towns and villages, others will run centres to provide nutritional meals for children and pregnant women, and some will operate immunisation clinics and carry out workshops on sexual health.
As a business you can look to donate money or time to these organisations, alternatively, run a fund raiser to enable your staff and the local community to participate and become part of the global goals.
In all of my SDG posts so far, I have mentioned the importance of carrying out an audit of your supply chain. A few months ago, I can recall watching a documentary called ‘Fashions Dirty Secret‘. It was a documentary that aired on BBC two and quite shocking. Why am I mentioning it in this post? The pollutants from local factories producing garments were seen pouring into the local rivers. These rivers were then used by local communities. Imagine how many people especially children get ill from using the polluted water. Not a pretty sight. As a business, if your products or raw materials are coming from abroad, have you looked at where and how they are produced? Carry out a supply chain audit either yourself, or join a sector specialist, such as a consortium, who can do so on your behalf.
A few facts from the UNDPs SDG goals about health and wellbeing:
– Each year around the world, more than 6 million children die before reaching their fifth birthday.
– Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of 5 as those from wealthier families.
– Measles vaccines have averted nearly 15.6 million deaths since the year 2000.
– Over 6.2 million malaria deaths were averted between 2000 and 2015, primarily of children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa.
– Maternal mortality has fallen by almost 50 percent since 1990. In East Asia, North Africa and South Asia, it has declined by around two thirds.
– An estimated 2.1 million people were infected with HIV in 2013, down 38 percent from 2001.
Thank you for reading.