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Make a Difference 2019

Developing healthy habits for a healthy lifetime

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Wavebreakmedia

Margaret Morrissey

Country HR director, Abbott

We all have different things that will motivate us at the start of each day. But I have always felt that, if there is one goal that unites us, it is the desire to make a difference.

Lives can be changed through healthcare technologies. But medical device companies can offer more, too.

Responsibility as a healthcare provider doesn’t need to stop with the patients. By being active members of the community, medical device companies can take responsibility and help build healthy, thriving societies. In fact, there should be a strive to make a difference to the entire country.

Volunteering leads to prideful employees

A culture of ‘giving back to the community’ has obvious benefits for local communities, but can also be a huge benefit for the staff within an organisation.

Volunteering activities – e.g. staff working with local groups, sharing skills and expertise – can truly engender a sense of pride among teams, while being helpful to those outside of the business.

The world of STEM

The world of STEM can feel daunting if it is unfamiliar. So, who better to help inspire students’ interest in STEM than the employees within medical device companies?

Events like annual science weeks can help students, parents and teachers to explore the exciting careers in science and engineering.

In turn, this sense of ‘making a difference’ within a company can improve job satisfaction and employee retention.

How companies can make a difference

It’s also so important to encourage good health within an office environment and to raise awareness of important health issues.

Schemes such as charity initiatives (like Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Hands for Life’, which aims to train 100,000 people in the life-saving skill of CPR) give employees the chance to learn how to potentially save lives.

This health awareness can extend beyond the office. In Ireland, circulatory diseases such as heart disease account for almost a third of all deaths. On average, over 500 people a year die from complications associated with diabetes.

Once considered a problem just for older adults, these health conditions are becoming more common in children. Latest research shows that 16%, that’s one in six, children in Ireland are either overweight or obese.

‘Future Well Kids’

To help change the future, Ireland is one of three countries worldwide that has launched a new initiative called Future Well Kids.

In partnership with local schools, healthcare professionals are delivering a fun and engaging curriculum to make young people more aware of the importance of exercise and nutrition to their overall health.

Three schools in Cavan, Dublin and Sligo are already benefiting from this programme, but there are no plans to stop there. The Future Well Kids programme will be expanding to more schools and supporting them to make a difference to the future health and wellbeing of their pupils.

Through this initiative, we will continue to tackle the growing problem of noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease; by empowering Irish children today to develop healthy habits that will reduce their risks of getting diabetes and heart disease when they’re older.

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