Health Ministry to unveil national wellness agenda

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton (Photo: Donald De La Haye, JIS)

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton says the ministry is to roll out its wellness agenda soon.

“It includes a ‘Better For You’ menu in restaurants. So, when you go to a restaurant you have items on the menu that you can choose from, based on what is classified as being healthier in terms of the balancing of diet,” Dr. Tufton said.

The minister was speaking at the launch of Canopy Insurance, held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, January 16.

“Our wellness agenda means promoting fresh [food], which is why we have market pop-ups, wellness garden in your backyard, a nutrition policy for schools to guide what our children consume each day, supporting the sugary drink restrictions and wellness at work programme,” Dr. Tufton said.

The minister noted that the wellness agenda is aimed at encouraging Jamaicans to recognise the importance of the preservation of health.

Minister of Health and Wellness Christopher Tufton (second right), in conversation with Chairman, Canopy Insurance, Senator Don Wehby (second left), at the official launch of Canopy Insurance at The Gardens of The Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston. Others (from left) are Member of Canopy’s Board, Paul Scott; and Managing Director, Canopy Insurance, Sean Scott. (Photo: Donald De La Haye, JIS)

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton provided an update on the outsourcing of diagnostic services to 10 private-sector entities, and pointed out that the Government has, so far, spent $35 million under the initiative to help Jamaicans.

Regarding the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP) green paper, the minister said discussions are to be undertaken across the country this year, ultimately leading to a white paper and a policy.

“One of the things I would like to do is to encourage private providers like Canopy to participate in that national discussion, and make suggestions as to how we can partner together in order to strengthen that partnership,” Dr. Tufton said.

The document is expected to lead to a final proposal, aimed at providing appropriate levels of access, coverage, and financial protection to the population.

GraceKennedy and the Musson Group have forged a partnership that has seen the two companies collaborating in the group health and life insurance market under the name, Canopy Insurance Limited.  

Chaired by Senator Don Wehby, the company, which began operations in October 2019, currently serves 10,000 members island-wide. 

Senator Wehby said, to date, there has been a smooth rollout of Canopy across the length and breadth of Jamaica.

Chairman, Canopy Insurance, Senator Don Wehby (Photo: Donald De La Haye, JIS)

“Our customers have seen and experienced the world-class technological innovation of our offerings and its ease of use, and critically, the quality of our team members and their heavy focus on customer service,” he said.

Senator Wehby added that the Canopy team has been working very hard on the ground and has already set the bar very high where customer experience is concerned.

“As a result, we have started to see encouraging signs of growth, with key accounts being signed, and even more promising deals to be made, on the horizon,” he noted.