Gleneagles JPMC and Ministry of Health (MoH) recently renewed their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyle programmes among the community, marking the fifth year run of the successful project.
The initiative which began with Workplace and Health (WAH) Programme, Happy Environment and Lifestyle (HEAL) Programme in 2019, has now added Growing, Learning, Optimizing Towards Better Well-Being in Schools Programme (GLOW) for students.
An agreement was signed between Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) of Health Dr Ang Swee Hui and Chief Executive Officer of Gleneagles JPMC Dr Peter Tay followed by a contribution of $250,000 to MoH to fund the programmes.
On hand to witness the ceremony was Head of Health Promotion Centre (HPC) at Ministry of Health Dr Hajah Norhayati Haji Md Kassim and Chief Operating Officer of Gleneagles JPMC ‘Izzul Hamzi Haji Jomari.
Also in attendance was Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham Haji Jaafar.
In his remarks, Dr Peter Tay highlighted that as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Gleneagles JPMC has always been supportive of the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
“Today, the world is witnessing an epidemic of lifestyle diseases otherwise known as NonCommunicable Diseases (NCDs). These include obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, coronary heart disease, strokes, and cancer. The WHO has declared a war on lifestyle diseases and here in Brunei, under the Wawasan Brunei Darussalam 2035, one of the main goals is to focus on achieving a high quality of life, and this includes self-development and adopting a healthy lifestyle”, he said.
In an interview, Dr Hajah Norhayati said that the WAH programme has conducted health screenings for over 2000 civil servants across the ministries.
“Out of the number, we found over 1000 individuals have high blood pressure and they have been referred to the nearest health centres. Under the programme, we have also trained some 200 officers and staff in the ministries as the health focals to conduct their own health activities,” she said.
Dr Hajah Norhayati added that, from the yearly fund, HPC has also supplied weighing scales and blood pressure equipment to the ministries for health screenings conducted by the focal persons.
The senior health official shared that HPC plans to expand the WAH programme to the private sector following a positive interest by companies and organisations.
For GLOW, Dr Hajah Norhayati said that the goal is towards making every school in the country a health-promoting school.
“After spending time with adults at workplaces and giving various resources, why not look at school children. We want to start young as well, and this investment is much more important as they have many more years ahead of them,” she said.
She further said that HPC has shared guidance and criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO) with more than 40 schools in the private sector with six schools volunteering to pilot the programme.
“This initiative incorporates some principles whereby schools develop their own policies and allocate available resources to deliver components of the health promoting school. You have people responsible to monitor the health of the growing school population and take care of what school children eat and drink, to ensure they have enough play time to be physically active as well as their mental wellbeing are looked after,” said Dr Hajah Norhayati.
On his part, Chief Operating Officer of Gleneagles JPMC ‘Izzul Hamzi Haji Jomari the continued partnership with MoH marks their commitment to raising awareness of healthy lifestyles among the community.
“Being the only tertiary cardiac centre in Brunei plays a significant role in increasing awareness on the importance of cardiovascular health especially with the increasing NCDs in the country,” he said.
Under the WAH programme, a total of 39 BMI weighing scales and stadiometer and 52 sphygmomanometers were distributed to all 12 ministries.
Approximately 20,000 civil servants have participated in basic health screenings, and a total of 598 exercise sessions have been conducted since 2019.
In 2022, six ministries participated in the pilot weight loss programme called the Fit & Active Lifestyle Club (FALC).
The WHP website which has been live since September 2022, offers four online modules with a total of 18 topics to promote a healthy lifestyle and increase knowledge and competencies in health promotion and disease prevention in workplaces.
Meanwhile, the HEAL Programme supports physical activity interventions in community settings by building, strengthening, and maintaining social networks that provide opportunities for physical activity.
Since 2019, some 23 physical activity events have been conducted, with a total of 2,583 participants. In the future, the HEAL Programme will be expanded to include community initiatives focusing on nutrition and anti-tobacco efforts.
The newly introduced GLOW Programme aims to empower schools in Brunei to implement comprehensive health promotion programmes for the better health of students.
The programme adopts a whole-school approach to promote health and educational accomplishment within school communities.
As of January 2023, six schools have been recruited to pilot the Health Promoting Schools (HPS) initiatives, and a total of 61 teachers from 34 private schools attended a two-day HPS Initiatives Workshop.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN