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Medtronic: demonstrating its commitment to global health through workplace and foundation efforts

09/12/2011

ARTICLE

Private Sector Global Health Initiatives: Medtronic

Workplace Program

Medtronic’s workplace wellness program, Total Health, proactively addresses preventable disease by looking at risk factors, including poor diet, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and lack of exercise. Through this program, the company hopes to improve employee productivity, reduce absenteeism and save millions of dollars in annual healthcare costs. Total Health provides Medtronic employees access to health screenings, weight loss, nutrition, exercise and smoking cessation classes, organized sports teams, flu shots, walking programs and health fairs. Medtronic is also in the process of rolling out a wellness website customized by location, lifestyle improvement programs, and health coaching for employees.

Foundation-Supported Activities

Through its foundation, Medtronic is involved with several leading organizations that are working to change the state of global health.

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is a top area of focus for the Medtronic Foundation. RHD is one of the more prevalent, neglected NCDs of the poor with 200,000 deaths occurring annually in Africa alone, while it has been virtually eradicated in developed countries. Global mortality from RHD is over 350,000 annually. The Foundation supports efforts through grants to non-profits to fund awareness, early diagnosis and prevention, advocacy and awareness among policy makers and health professionals. The Foundation also helps fund the development of best practices for screening, treatment and follow up of patients identified with Rheumatic Fever or Strep Throat. In addition to working with partners in South Africa and Rwanda, the Medtronic Foundation is also working with the World Heart Federation to position it as the leading international agency advocating for, convening and implementing programs to deliver RHD control across the Asian, South Pacific, South American and African regions, where RHD is prevalent.

Partners in Health (PIH) works to increase awareness and prioritization of NCDs in the poorest countries and identify ways to strengthen health systems to address NCDs. The Foundation has supported PIH in the development of demonstration sites in three districts in Rwanda aimed at strengthening NCD prevention, diagnosis, treatment and the integration of NCDs into the primary healthcare system.

The World Heart Federation (WHF) is a Foundation partner working to create effective and sustainable programs to encourage healthy lifestyles in children. WHF did a meta-analysis of existing healthy lifestyle programs from WHF’s 200+ members, held a workshop to identify successful programs and criteria for evaluation and sustainability, and created toolkits and an online resources center for members to replicate these programs.

The India Diabetes Research Foundation became a Foundation partner for an initiative in ten Indian states to train 960 doctors, 600 health educators/dieticians and 4,000 paramedical field staff in diabetes over five years. India has the world’s largest diabetes population, estimated at 40 million, but many health professionals have little knowledge of the disease. IDRF will encourage participants to join in the establishment of a network of Diabetes Prevention & Control Centers and will raise awareness of all stakeholders including policymakers, health managers, high-risk groups and the general population on prevention of diabetes and its complications.

WiRED International has been a long-time Foundation partner. WiRED’s mission is to provide medical and healthcare information in developing and war-affected regions. In the ten years since the project began, WiRED has installed more than 100 Medical Information Centers and Community Health Information Centers on four continents (Latin America, Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East). Among a range of programs supported by the Foundation, WiRED’s Medical Information Centers deliver the latest technical information to professional health care providers, medical school faculty and students.

Source: Medtronic