Protecting our biggest asset – our health

Editorial

The saying that prevention is better than cure can be seen as a reminder for all to be health-conscious and prevent the discomfort and costs of becoming sick from a preventable disease or injury.
It takes less effort to prevent something than to cure it.
Being health-conscious describes an attitude in which one has an awareness of the healthiness of one’s diet and lifestyle, of making choices in our life in favour of maintaining or even promoting our state of being healthy.
Last week, Port Moresby General Hospital emergency head Dr Sam Yockopua called on people to take care of themselves and start taking measures to prevent illness and injury.
An interesting observation highlighted was that many patients going into the emergency department do so after doing things that they should not have been doing.
Much of ill-health and injury can be prevented. Prevention is crucial to improving the health of the whole population. It will also boost the health of our economy.
It is time we change and start taking measures to prevent illness and injury.
Everyone has a part to play, and we must work together across society.
This includes recognising the responsibilities of individuals and families to reduce the chances of becoming unwell in the first place, but also how the wider environment we live in determines our health.
Most times we are ignorant of the consequences of our actions until it is too late.
PNG’s nearly eight million people live with a strained and struggling healthcare system that belies the country’s rise as an increasingly wealthy global power.
Messages like wash your hands before eating, sleep under a mosquito net, cover your mouth when coughing and many others may sound trivial but the after-effects of can cost a life.
Infections like malaria, measles and diarrhoea are prevalent and they precipitate acute malnutrition among children and infants.
This means our people need to be educated on the nutritional quality of common foods, the importance and nutritional quality of various locally available and culturally accepted low-cost foods, the importance of breastfeeding for six months and continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond and the importance of immunizing children and following proper sanitation in their day-to-day life.
Cleanliness and hygiene of food supplies are two very critical factors that can prevent disease outbreaks.
Securing our nation’s health requires a significant and sustained effort to prevent illness and support good physical and mental health.
We need to see a greater investment in prevention – to support people to live longer, healthier and more independent lives.
Prevention is about helping people stay healthy, happy and independent for as long as possible. This means reducing the chances of problems from arising in the first place and, when they do, supporting people to manage them as effectively as possible.
Where we live and work, and the support we get from those around us, make a big difference to our ability to live well.
Our health is our most important asset. We must protect and nourish it.

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