Introduction to Wellness Program
Wellness programs are becoming fully integrated within workplaces. Workplace Wellness programs, in coordination with health and safety initiatives and health benefit design programs, are providing more effective ways to deliver information about how to utilize existing healthcare benefits to improve health of workers. Workplace related health issues if not managed well can be devastating to businesses and could lead to: -
- Cost the enterprise a great deal of money
- Impact on productivity
- Their outcome can have a far-reaching effect beyond the workplace
- They are quite different from the traditional workplace hazards and their management requires unique strategies
The Federation of Kenya Employers is implements programmes which focus on Employee wellness a t the workplaces.
Why workplace wellness is relevant to Employers / FKE’S role in workplace wellness?
Workplace environment and other psycho-social issues can contribute positively to enterprise wellbeing if early warning signs are detected, and appropriate interventions are implemented. They can also have a negative impact negatively to enterprise performance if pragmatic interventions are not institutionalized and monitored on continuous basis.
FKE is currently at the forefront of promoting employee wellness through the VCT@WORK initiative and has facilitated employers to provide platforms for workers to know their HIV status.
- One of the approaches FKE has utilized over the years is the Clustered Health Enterprise Partnership (CHEP) Networks which are groups of companies who come together based on location to enhance collective action on HIV, health, and wellness at the workplace. Through the CHEP networks located in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret and Laikipia, FKE has managed to mobilize companies for Wellness activities at their workplaces with reach out to the informal economy and the community at large which has seen over 150,000 people reached over time with HIV/health awareness raising messages, testing, treatment, care, and support programmes. Through the VCT@WORK initiative, around 60 per cent of the beneficiaries reached are men, confirming that workplaces have a huge potential to engage the male population, which is considered more difficult to reach with HIV information, testing, counselling, and treatment. It is important to promote and support HIV testing and treatment in the workplace and other settings where men congregate in line with this and with the knowledge that men have been left behind in accessing HIV services.
- FKE has been critical in advancing innovative approaches to HIV testing such as HIV Self Testing (HIVST) and it is important to ensure that Peer Educators have the requisite knowledge to promote HIVST at work. Other innovative approaches that have been applied include HIV awareness and testing for persons with disabilities (PwDs). People with disabilities have been left behind in access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support as they are a multitude of barriers facing them in accessing information, employment, and social amenities. It is critical to engage people with disabilities in HIV programming and ensure access to HIV services is enhanced which can be done through the platform of the world of work. In this regard the project proposes to engage FKE to scale up access to HIV services for people with disabilities particularly those with hard of hearing with linkage to care, support and treatment services as needed.
FKE has continued to build capacity of employers in other employee wellness interventions through development of Tuberculosis (TB) workplace policy, sexual reproductive health rights and gender equality policies, development of the National Condom Strategy, dissemination of the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework I & II among others. These programmes have been mainstreamed and adopted in many workplaces all over Kenya.
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