Corporates urged to help curb heavy NCD burden

By Getrude Mbago , The Guardian
Published at 12:07 PM Apr 18 2024
Marsha Macatta-Yambi, executive director of Global Compact Network Tanzania (GCNT)
Photo: File
Marsha Macatta-Yambi, executive director of Global Compact Network Tanzania (GCNT)

COMPANIES operating in Tanzania have been urged to contribute to the health and wellbeing of citizens by putting in place robust strategies to reverse the worrying trend of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Marsha Macatta-Yambi, executive director of Global Compact Network Tanzania (GCNT), made the call in Dar es Salaam yesterday at Corporate Wellness Conference.

Organized collaboratively by GCNT and ImpactAfya Ltd, the conference was conducted with under the theme ‘Mitigating NCDs for Sustainable Businesses’.

According to Macatta-Yambi, the current health statistics are clear that Tanzania needs to double its collective efforts to reverse the trend as NCDs burden which affects businesses and the economy.

She said NCDs impose huge economic costs that fall heaviest on the low- and middle-income countries, including Tanzania, calling for more coordinated efforts to curb the challenge.

“Apart from the government putting in place policies and strategies to heighten the fight against NCDs, companies have a big role to play to ensure that their employees are safe and healthy,” she said.

She noted that businesses realise that their workforce is an asset when it comes to ensuring growth but with the rise in chronic diseases and the recent spotlight on mental health, it’s becoming clear that promoting corporate wellness is a must.

She further said that in efforts to heighten the fight against NCDs, GCNT and ImpactAfya Ltd have signed agreement to implement ‘Corporate Wellness and You’ programme to increase public awareness and remind employers to improve health, productivity, reduce healthcare costs and scale up employee retention among other factors.

Suzanne Ndomba-Doran, chief executive officer of the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE), said that it is hard for employers to generate profit if their workers are not healthy.

“So, it is better for employers to put in place robust plans and strategies to fight diseases such as NCDs whose burden is rapidly growing,” she said.

She noted that safe and healthy working environments are not only a fundamental right but are also more likely to minimize tension and conflicts at work and improve staff retention, work performance and productivity.

Dr Omary Ubuguyu, assistant director and head of NCD, mental health and injuries in the Ministry of Health reiterated the government’s commitment to continuing to work closely with stakeholders in the private sector to heighten the fight against NCDs in the country.

He acknowledged that many people have plunged into unhealthy lifestyles which affect their health and the nation’s workforce.

“Tanzania’s future prosperity depends to a large degree on improving health and education of its people; we need to increase our collective efforts to help address these challenges,” he said.