Workplace Programming

Workplaces in the less developed world can be sources of valuable health services and information for vulnerable women and men workers, especially access to safe, voluntary family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) counseling and services. Yet improving women’s and worker health has been a low priority for most multi-national corporations and their supply chain companies in low and middle income countries. Although the global economy has changed dramatically with more women joining the formal workforce, health at the work place is viewed through a narrow and traditional lens of occupational health and safety (OHS) compliance. In this context, workplaces focus on inputs (number of nurses or availability of first aid kits) and safety issues (use of protective clothing) rather than on the quality and types of health services offered, including FP/RH, to their employees. As a result, services provided are under-prioritized and poorly managed and workplace health providers who could do much more to promote healthier behaviors are underutilized. And companies are missing a prime opportunity to improve the health, well-being and productivity of their workforces.