It’s time that we should decide to take the oars of our health into our hands. It’s apparent that the system has failed and is continually failing, from lack of resources to lack of infrastructure (human, power, hospitals, equipment’s, etc.).
We have watched people die from seemingly small situations that could easily be handled, from lack of insurance, lack of funds, lack of access to proper healthcare or from lack of trained personnel to handle it. Truth is, there is nothing that can be done right now that would not take time and dedication. So what do we do in the meantime? Preventive medicine.
Let’s start with hypertension, until 2004, a review by in the Journal of Nutrition concerning the epidemiology of hypertension in Africans indicated that it was not a disease with high prevalence estimates in Africa. Meaning that a few Africans were diagnosed with hypertension. Now it’s almost in every household and it’s getting worse.
Some people would argue that we didn’t have the right equipment to diagnose and I would say that studies have indicated that hypertension is generally aggravated by obesity and high salt intakes, obesity is a disease caused by urbanisation and wealth. So to indicate that we are wealthy we gain weight. That’s just for hypertension, what of a myriad of other diseases that are now plaguing Africans including diabetes.
If we cast our minds back, how did our parents live? Long tales of how they would walk distances to fetch water, go to school, play under the moonlight, play in the sand, eat fewer pieces of meat. All of that, although it indicated suffering to us but it basically is a picture of the better times. There was a lot of walking so there was increased physical activity so people did not get too fat, children played a lot in the moonlight so obesity rates in children were reduced. They ate portions they could afford so obesity rates were controlled also.
Back to the present, children are not allowed to play in schools because the schools are competing with others, they are not allowed to play at home because the environment is unsafe or we just want quiet. Parents don’t have time to walk or exercise because we are just too busy, the economy is failing and we have to survive. I understand all of that.
What is the result? Increasing incidences of chronic diseases, which are now coupled with infectious diseases (which we already had by the way) and a failing system.
What do we do? Take it into our hands, practise preventive medicine…allow children to play, walk more, exercise more, eat less, eat a variety of food groups so that it can provide all the nutrients we need, have regular medical check-ups. If there’s no money for that, do the others.
Until the country gets better, we can and we will fight for ourselves and it starts with our health.
Wriiten by Aniebiet Ekong for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng