by Evans Manyonga

A man's perspective

Men's health issues can affect business success

Men's health issues can affect business success
A man's perspective

Men’s health issues affect their productivity at work and they end up functioning at a lower level. Even though this could impact on your business’ output, the solution is simple –  comprehensive employee health and wellness programmes. Comprehensive work health management adds value to any business as it enhances a good balance between work and life. 

Various organisations including Vodacom, Eskom and Sanlam have introduced employee health programmes in order to ensure their workers commit to and maintain healthier lifestyles.

Mercedes Benz South Africa (MBSA) is also one of these organisations. 

They believe that wellness is defined as “healthy, motivated employees in health promoting, safe and comfortable workplaces, engaged productively in decent, meaningful work, while maintaining good work-life balance; working for forward-thinking organisations committed to ensuring sustainability through protecting the environment and actively engaging markets, stakeholders and communities as responsible corporate citizens”. 

In essence it is in the best interests of any organisation to have a comprehensive organisational health management system. 

Dr Japie Lubbe from Wellness Africa notes that there has been an increase in the last decade in the number of companies in South Africa offering work site wellness programmes to their employees. This ensures workers are kept healthy, morale is improved, and medical care costs are reduced. 

According to The World Health Organisation ‘health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. This holistic guideline of health should provide a solid guideline to organisations and provide a basis for organisations to tailor their wellness objectives for employees. 

Wellness programmes should offer nutritional advice to employees as part of their holistic approach to wellness, decreasing the level of disease and strain that affects the male workforce. Dr Rayhana Gangat from Good Health Primary Care Centre notes that good health and wellness begins in the mind. 

“When you are concerned about your health you carry it through in all your life aspects. Every element of your lifestyle moves towards a general sense of good wellbeing and good health.” Organisations can play a stronger role in helping their employees. 

A healthy population drives a stronger and more productive nation. Dr Lubbe argues that “it is time for South African organisations to raise the bar on work site wellness programmes and lead Africa towards a corporate culture where their human capital is their greatest resource towards sustainable development”.

Dr Gangat says that men’s problems are mostly caused by their diet and lifestyle.  She has worked in Zimbabwe, Afganistan, France, America and South Africa and many other countries. 

“Coming back to South Africa it is interesting to see how the eating habits here are mostly being modelled and moving towards the western oriented way of life. People are no longer conscious about what they eat,” she says. When comparing the rest of Africa to South Africa from personal experience she argues that the level of general nutrition is actually at a lower level in South Africa than in some of the African countries. She also feels that genetically modified foods have an adverse effect on health in general and the male population in particular. According to an article by Laura McDermid, genetically modified foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Dr Gangat feels that the blame does not only lie with genetically modified foods but rather with the male eating habits. 

“People should be trained from a young age to respect their bodies and what they consume. If you are not conscious of what you eat then there are higher chances of feeling the effects in the long run,” she says.

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