Torres launches campaign to promote health and wellness

Posted on Apr 27 2022


Beginning the week of May 2, 2022, all Executive Branch employees of the Commonwealth government may take an administrative leave for no more than two hours per week to do personal health and wellness-related activities.

This comes soon after Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signed yesterday a directive that implement the CNMI Executive Branch’s “FIT-TO-LEAD” Health and Wellness Campaign.

Among the personal health and wellness-related activities that Executive Branch employees could apply for Administrative Leave are:

a. Vaccinations for COVID-19
b. Testing for COVID-19
c. Appointments with healthcare professionals such as physicians and counselors
d. Screening checks
e. Physical fitness and wellness activities
The directive is Directive No. 2022-001.

Official time-keepers must ensure that proper time-keeping is enforced and in compliance with all CNMI Office of Personnel Management policies and regulations. The CNMI Office of Personnel Management shall provide assistance and guidance to the Office of the Governor and all departments and agencies concerning time-keeping and other related matters concerning this directive and its initiatives.

Each department and agency head shall designate at least one health coach for their respective department or agency. These designated health coaches shall spearhead their department or agency’s fitness and wellness plan, which shall include short- and long-term objectives and an implementation strategy that safeguard the continuous and effective delivery of essential government services while championing these critical initiatives.
All department and agency fitness and wellness plans must be submitted to the Office of the Governor by April 29, 2022.

All departments and agencies must ensure that physical and mental fitness and wellness activities are promoted and afforded to all Executive Branch employees. These initiatives shall be given reasonable support to allow each department and agency to successfully execute and sustain their respective programs.

“As we continue to endure in our nationwide battle against the COVID-19 virus, we must now face the additional challenge of adjusting the ways in which we live our daily lives so that we may transition into a ‘new normal,’” said Torres. “…The ongoing pandemic reminds us that the health and wellness of each CNMI government employee is essential to our government’s productivity and our community’s collective wellbeing and quality of life. As we are well aware, many recent studies have shown that the health and wellness of our CNMI people continue to be adversely affected by unhealthy lifestyle practices such as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, increased stress levels, and obesity. Healthcare costs and, more importantly, mortality rates continue to rise in our Commonwealth, largely due to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. These chronic diseases can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyle practices such as getting regular check-ups, seeking advice and treatment from medical healthcare professionals and counselors, and engaging in physical fitness and wellness activities. Similarly, vaccinations and regular COVID-19 testing for our citizens and residents can assist us in containing the spread of the virus and protect us from its severe and life-threatening effects.

“For these reasons, I am determined to implement workplace wellness initiatives to support these important endeavors. By means of these initiatives, my administration hopes to demonstrate the major short-term and long-term benefits that can be gained by our government workforce, its employees, and our community as a whole, when our health and wellness is prioritized and supported,” said Torres. (PR)

Press Release
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