Health empowerment in the Philippines
an interview with Mr. Erwin Meijnders from Spliethoff Group
At Anker Crew Insurance, we believe it’s important to be involved into improving the wellbeing of seafarers all over the world. For example, we consider it valuable that seafarers and their families have proper information about how to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Spliethoff Manilla organized a ‘Health empowerment event’ in Palompon, Leyte this July. Anker Crew Insurance sponsored this event by arranging a chef-cook and dietician. These experts on healthy food gave an interactive presentation about how to cook a nutritious meal using local ingredients. Furthermore all participants could take home a cooking book to provide them with even more healthy recipe options.
A remarkable aspect of this event is that the wives of these seafarers were also invited to participate. We interviewed Erwin Meijnders, Managing Director HRM at Spliethoff Group to illustrate their motives on organizing the “Health Empowering Event” for their seafaring employees and their families.
Mr. Meijnders: “Spliethoff believes that family takes a great part in the general feeling of wellbeing of someone. Filipino seafarers often mean a great deal of support to their entire families. As a result, the family returns them the favor by providing them with love and attention during their shore leave, but also with greasy food and tasty snacks. However, these tasty snacks often don’t contain enough nutritious value to keep the seafarer healthy and strong. Hence when the seafarer gets ill, he can’t perform his duty on board a ship.
Making sure seafarers and their wives have knowledge about healthy cooking, can therefore contribute to improving their general health and employability. This is why the ‘Health Empowering Event’ was organized by SGMI Spliethoff Manila, so people know how to boost their own immune system themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
SGMI Spliethoff Manila is a crewing office located in the Philippines and maintains a collaboration with Palompon Institute of Technology, where the Health Empowerment Program of Spliethoff was organized this June. Participants of this event were informed about various topics including common illnesses and prevention. Subsequently these seafarers and their families were advised by a professional dietician and chef-cook. Erwin further explains the idea behind this positive initiative.
“Splietfhoff focusses on topics such as prevention, health and safety for some time now and we notice a change in the type of illnesses our people are facing. An increase of so called ‘lifestyle diseases’ such as obesity and diabetes can be observed amongst our Filipino seafarers. This is why we aim to motivate our crew to improve their lifestyle and health. People can live a longer life and we can keep them happily employed at our company for a longer period of time.”
All this effort is made to create a mindset change of individuals themselves. But what is Spliethoff Group doing as a company to improve the health of their seafarers? Mr. Meijnders responses:
“We have been ‘upgrading’ our cooks on board, to make sure they can provide everyone working on board of our vessels with a balanced nutricious meal. For instance, they were educated in providing the crew on board with healthier meal options. In essence this resulted in the cooks making less use of the frying pan and using more vegetables. This program was previously called the ‘Fat Reduction Plan’ and has developed over the years into broader plan, focusing on various subjects, including maintaining a higher hygiene standard in the kitchen.
Moreover we are planning to continue our good intentions towards improving health and safety on our vessels and for all officers and crew involved.”
Spliethoff is taking a good step into improving the health and lifestyle of their seafarers by organizing this event in the Philippines and Anker Crew Insurance is glad to participate in these kind of positive initiatives.
Mr. Meijnders: “People can improve their health by simply enhancing the nutritional values of their daily intake of food. But reality learns us that a shift of mindset is needed. When you notice the improvement on your own health by eating better and exercising more, you are more likely to stick to these good habits. We are pleased that we have been able to organize this positive event, with the support of Anker Crew Insurance. We intend to continue our good intentions in the longer term, keeping everyone healthy and fit.”
Take a look at the video below to get an impression of the positive vibes during this event in Palompon, Leyte.