CAPTION: From left is Westpac Head of Credit Mark Turner, Chief Advisor Health Promotion, Ministry of Health Dr Pita Vuniqumu, and President of the Fiji Physiotherapy Cathy Wong during the function last week. Photo: COURTESY OF JANINE PENJUELI.
By SHALENDRA PRASAD
Westpac has once again partnered with strategic stakeholders to curb the alarming rates of Non-Communicable diseases (NCD’s) in the country and is shining example when it comes to philanthropic work.
Last week the bank joined forces with the Ministry of Health and the Fiji Physiotherapy Association aiming to organize Westpac Morning Walks in an effort to combat NCD’s and create advocacy around its preventative measures – a key component of this being the need for physical activity.
Westpac head of credit Mark Turner said the bank is proud to be renewing its partnership with the stakeholders for the next three-years so that more awareness can be created on the effects of NCD’s.
Mr Turner said the bank first established the partnership for such an initiative in 2011 following a national finding which revealed that 80% of all deaths in Fiji are caused by NCD’s.
“Westpac partnered with the Ministry of Health and Fiji Physiotherapy Association to organize the morning walks with a view to increase awareness of NCD’s and their harmful effects and also to build advocacy around the need for physical activity as a key component for the prevention of NCD’s,” Mr Turner said.
Mr Turner also noted the participation of between 800-1000 people who were part of the health walk last year in Suva, Lautoka, Labasa and Savusavu collectively.
“This partnership and initiative was and is the first time a commercial bank has taken a lead role in a national awareness health program and is something that we are proud and delighted about,” Mr Turner added.
He said Westpac is also running its own internal “health and wellbeing program” in an endeavor to improve the health of the staff members who are the most important asset of the bank.
National health advisor Doctor Pita Vuniqumu and Fiji Physiotherapy Association president Cathy Wong shared similar sentiments and commended Westpac for partnering with them for a healthier Fiji.