World Health Day 2019: Health for All

Jainab Tabassum Banu Sonali

7 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

World Health Day 2019: Health for All

Jainab Tabassum Banu Sonali

Since our childhood, we have been familiar with the statement "Health is Wealth". We have written paragraphs and essays on this particular proverb so many times. But have we ever realised the in-depth meaning of it? The statement simply reveals the importance of health in our life. No matter how wealthy we are, if we are not healthy, there will be nothing to enjoy in life. Therefore, health is very important. The knowledge of and access to healthcare are vital in order to lead a happy and balanced life. For this reason, WHO along with other organisations have been observing World Health Day every year on 7 April.

In 1948, WHO organised the first World Health Assembly in Geneva. The assembly declared World Health Day to be celebrated on 7 April every year. Effecting from 1950, almost every country in the world observes this day on 7 April. Every year WHO promotes different themes and slogans. This year the theme is World Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere. And their slogan is "Health for All". So, WHO and other big and small organisations are concerned with providing health facilities to every single being. Most of the time, the privileged class and group of people get proper health facilities. Under-privileged and unprivileged people face problems in health sectors. In some cases, they have to choose between health and other basic needs. Therefore, they suffer from various diseases and become less efficient by the course of time. This is why, this year World Health Day is promoting and ensuring healthcare and health facilities to all regardless of class, gender, religion and region.

Our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working really hard to improve our health sector. If we look at her meetings, conferences and speeches, we will find her constantly and consistently focusing on health issues. On 27 January, honourable Prime Minister warned the government doctors and nurses to do their jobs properly. It was a clear cut and open-ended threat from our PM to the government doctors who do not attend their patients in government hospitals. PM said in her speech, "The health ministry should conduct a survey to find out how many patients go to government hospitals and why doctors are not found present in hospitals [district and upazila levels]. If the transferred doctors do not engage in service, then put them aside after making them OSD. We don't need them, we'll appoint new doctors" (The Daily Star, 28 January. 2019). She also asked the authorities of private hospitals to look and check their health sectors. Her major concern was to provide health facilities to all the common people of Bangladesh.

Then on 15 February, the PM had a conference titled "Health in Crisis- WHO cares" in Munich, Germany. She confessed and said, "It is unfortunate that we are failing to ensure appropriate health care for our people while right to health is the fundamental promise as described in SDG-3" (Dhaka Tribune, 16 February 2019). She showcased a official data which reveal that our country is able to provide good health in low cost. Our government is working on increasing health facilities and accesses. My point is, WHO cares. Our government cares. But do we care? Are we leading a healthy life? Are we eating right? Are we doing physical exercise regularly? Are we aware of health benefits and risks?

In my opinion, healthy life requires simple living and clean eating. Healthy eating, early rising and doing simple movement will do! Let me start with healthy diet. Healthy diet does not mean that we must buy costly "diet-foods". Whatever is available in our local markets, we can eat them and still stay healthy. In that case, we must keep in mind that it is important to have right portion of the right food on right time. Our body needs all six kinds of food to have a sustainable healthy system. Nowadays, people follow "high-protein diet" or "low-carb diet" or "GM diet" or "Egg diet". These diet plans perform tremendously well to lose weight in a remarkably short time. But these are not sustainable or healthy. Our goal should not be to lose weight only. Our aim is to attain a healthy body and a sound mind. For this reason, we must eat proper amount of proper kind of food. A nutritionist can help us to guide properly.

Then comes physical movement. I may say that we can do three simple things: walk, walk and walk. All three "walk"s morphologically look alike, but there's a difference. First walk is walking for specific purpose, let's say to lose weight and increase blood flow. Walking is a low intensity cardio exercise which helps to increase our blood flow and make our body more flexible. It also reduces extra fat mostly in the lower section of body. So, walking prevents the chance of having type two diabetes. Start walking for 30-45 minutes every day to shed your extra kilos. Second walk is the walk for the sake of just walking. If you want to go to some place which is not very far, walk! In spite of taking a vehicle, allow your legs to travel with you. You will feel more confident and comfortable as well. And the third walk is actually climbing stairs. If you are under forty, you can and should easily climb stairs up to fourth floor at least. So, forget lift or escalator and start taking the stairs to remain healthy and fit. But, never talk in your mobile phone while walking in the streets. It can be dangerous.

And lastly, our lifestyle. I may sound cliché, but our health has many things to do with our lifestyle. Now I may sound even boring, but it is true that "early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy and wise". So, we must focus on living a healthy life to avoid unexpected sickness. A clumsy evening with lavish food may be okay to have sometimes. But a healthy food habit and an active routine are essential. If we maintain a healthy life, the people around us will feel inspired to remain healthy. It is a collective effort that will ensure healthcare for all. So, let's stop blaming our system and doctors and start taking care of ourselves and people around us.


The writer is a Lecturer, Department

of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong