Employee Fitness Centre opened at Annotto Bay Hospital
Just before the start of a new year, most people will make resolutions to do a number of things, such as buying a house, a car, travelling, or simply beginning a fitness programme.
One resolution that the staff of the Annotto Bay Hospital is willing to stand by is starting a fitness/exercise programme at the newly-opened employee fitness centre located on the grounds of hospital in the north eastern parish of St Mary.
This means that employees will not have to travel far to work-out or invest in expensive gym memberships.
In keeping with the Ministry of Health and Wellness 'Jamaica Moves' initiative, the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) has implemented a 'NERHA Fit' wellness programme to engage and support employees in activities geared towards enhancing their physical and mental well-being.
The programme is a multi-pronged one that includes subscription to a gym, on-site aerobics sessions, nutritional counseling and periodic fitness testing. Since its launch in 2018, employees have benefited greatly from the programme and continue to reduce their risks of non-communicable diseases through weight loss, increased fitness levels and improved nutrition.
The fitness centre at the Annotto Bay Hospital came out of those initiatives: Jamaica Moves and NERHA FIT. The centre has several machines on which users will get intensive cardio and strength workouts.
The hospital's management is standing by the belief that fit employees are less likely to get sick, and are more productive. The programme is also being touted as one that will contribute to reducing absenteeism due to illness.
â€œStudies have shown that regular exercise may not only induce state of euphoria, but can also reduce stress, lower rate of depression, enhanced self-esteem, improve sleep, and in turn, helps to boost the libido. It with those benefits in mind, we have made health and well-being of our employees among our top priorities at the hospital,â€ said Dennis Morgan, the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of the Annotto Bay Hospital.
â€œThe introduction of the fitness centre is a visual demonstration to our employees that we take seriously their health and well-being. The space is only a first step in our efforts at developing a more comprehensive staff wellness programme at the facility, which will include specially designed activities focusing on fitness and health, as well as on financial wellness,â€ Morgan went on.
And as a complement to the employee fitness centre, the refurbishing of the outdoor multi-purpose game court is now underway. When completed, the court can accommodate tennis, volleyball, netball, basketball, scrimmage soccer, yoga, and other activities.
There is also a dietary and nutrition component to the fitness programme, where information will be shared on the importance of healthy eating and other nutrients for their body.
Dashia Jackson, dietitian at the facility, notes that including education on nutrition into one's regular exercise programme can be extremely beneficial, and that she is looking forward to the department's participation in activities aimed at boosting the health and well-being of her colleagues.
Morgan has tasked the facility's human resource officer, and dietitian with setting up various fun fitness challenges, using social media and other technologies to promote them to employees.
He noted that promoting healthy lifestyle, healthy work environment, and healthy employees are the guiding principles of the regional directorate. The NERHA FIT initiatives, and by extension the Annotto Bay Hospital employee fitness centre, embodies those principles.
Morgan is confident that employees will make full use of the centre, which is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm each day, and to take part fully in the other physical activities when they come on stream.