Gary Brown (second from left) and Trevor Hassell (third from left) sign the memorandum of understanding as Neil Brennan, Managing Director HR at CIBC FirstCaribbean (left)
ORGANISED MARATHONS, walks and gym challenges, after work exercise programmes, walking and running clubs are just some of the activities in which more employees of CIBC FirstCaribbean are being encouraged to participate, as a result of the establishment of a relationship between the bank and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC).
This relationship was strengthened recently when the CEO of the bank Gary Brown and Professor Trevor Hassell, President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to seal the partnership between the two organisations. Its overarching aim is to improve and contribute to chronic disease prevention and control in the Caribbean.
“Chronic diseases (NCDs) account for considerable death and disability in the Caribbean and present tremendous economic burden,” said Professor Hassell as he discussed the need for his organisation in the region. “They require the commitment, constructive engagement and contribution of all sectors of society – public sector, the private business sector and civil society, in an effort to slow the epidemic of this group of diseases,” he added.
Professor Hassell further explained that the NCDs are the leading causes of the slowing and reversal of socio-economic development in the region as they resulted in low productivity, absenteeism and the high cost of providing health care.
On signing the MOU, CEO Gary Brown confirmed: “Workplace wellness is a particular focus for our company. Our people spend a significant portion of their time at work, so it is in the interest of both the company and our employees to ensure the environment is conducive to a productive and healthy work culture. Healthy employees are happier and will deliver great service to our clients.”
“This MOU goes further, as we hope to be able to share the knowledge we gain with our clients as well. So it’s a win-win for all – healthier employees serving healthier clients, leading to a healthier society as a whole,” he added.
The recently signed three year agreement will mean that the two organisations will work together on three main pillars – to promote workplace wellness programmes throughout the Caribbean; enhance education and awareness about NCDs and foster a greater level of community volunteerism in response to NCDs.
In operationalising these three objectives, the HCC will first design an evidence based workplace wellness programme in conjunction with a bank team that will ensure its implementation. Then, working together the two will develop a regional education and awareness campaign aimed at employees first and customers as a secondary target group and thirdly they will jointly develop community volunteer opportunities for the bank’s staff to work with civil society organisations in the countries around the region. The plan is to match the skills of the volunteer employees with local organisations to help them with financial management, marketing, general administration, event management, IT support and other project related activities.
The HCC, a non-profit company, is the only regional alliance of civil society organisations focussed on addressing NCD prevention and control in the Caribbean. Formed in 2008, it was the response to the 2007 CARICOM Heads of Government declaration “uniting to stop the epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases”. Its mission is to harness the power of civil society in collaboration with government, private enterprise, academia and international partners in the development and implementation of plans for the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases among Caribbean people. (PR)