Editor's Comment

Let’s keep the doctor away

ACTING President Inonge Wina (second left) joins members of Aerobics Mania in workouts during the commemoration of National Health Week in Lusaka yesterday. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

THERE was a period when some citizens thought beating nurses was the best way of getting their attention for their sick relatives.
Of course, it is frustrating when you have a relative in hospital and medical staff do not seem to be caring.
It is the seeming lack of care which leads to relatives venting their frustrations on medical staff.
However, much as rounds by medical staff are important, the buck of sustaining good health rests with individuals.
If we work hard at household and community levels, our health facilities will not be over-burdened by patients.
When people lead healthy lifestyles, they will be visiting medical facilities less and will not be in the mood to beat up nurses.
More importantly, expenses on health could significantly reduce and the money could be used on other needs.
Further, productivity would also significantly improve, while workers, both in the formal and the informal sectors, would spend more time at work rather than at health centres.
Most of today’s and tomorrow’s illnesses can be prevented through positive behaviour. Physical activity offers one such viable option for promoting sustainable healthy living.
Basic exercising like taking brisk walks, jogging and aerobics as well as eating the right foods in the right quantities are habits that Zambians should adopt and sustain.
The craving for junk food is growing by the day as vegetables, especially the traditional ones, are abandoned. This ought to change. Oddly, even the supposedly educated Zambians have adopted unhealthy lifestyles with many of them getting frighteningly obese.
We hope that they heed the advice by acting President Inonge Wina, who has called for adoption of healthy lifestyles to help prevent the increasing cases of non-communicable diseases.
Mrs Wina notes that the country is seeing an increase in non-communicable diseases such as cancers, hypertension, obesity, strokes, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease and trauma from violence because it has not adequately tackled its contemporary problems.
Therefore, the national call for promotion of health and wellness is timely and should significantly contribute to the attainment of a healthier Zambia which will contribute to the growth of the country.
Speaking when she launched the National Health Week on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) television on Sunday night, Mrs Wina said the country has been making steady progress in combating disease through efforts in promoting good health, preventing disease, treatment and mitigating the effects of diseases.
The theme for the National Health Week is: ‘A healthier Zambia begins with you, me and the family – hands up for health promotion and disease prevention’.
Zambia has scored notable success towards controlling major communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV, reduced maternal, new-born and childhood illnesses and deaths.
Therefore, it should even be much easier to curb non-communicable diseases.
As a nation, we should rise to the occasion and overcome non-communicable diseases which are easier to contain than communicable diseases.
Promoting good health, preventing disease and entrenchment of wellness cannot be left to the health sector alone.
Like Mrs Wina said, this approach shall be a key strategic part of the goal to maintain a healthy and productive people, in order to grow and develop our country.
This week and beyond, we should see a change of attitude by having more citizens jogging or walking in the morning or evening.
We call upon the corporate world to help in promoting a healthier Zambia beyond the national health week. Corporate and government departments should take the lead by establishing sporting activities at their workplaces to help prevent diseases.
The biggest responsibility, however, is on each individual, especially adults, who have to also ensure that their children grow healthily. Just as an apple a day would keep the doctor away, so would regular and correct exercising.

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