World Health Day
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
World health day was commemorated yesterday. The theme for this year's commemoration, "protecting health from climate change", is well suited given the increasing interest on the debate of the subject of climate change, which has been shown beyond reasonable doubt to be a threat to human livelihood. The significance of the day is that it allows us the opportunity to reflect on those activities of ours that continue to pose health risk and jeopardize our living condition.
Health is wealth as it is indispensable to human development. Suffice it to mention that without a healthy society no nation can prosper. This is well demonstrated by the emphasis the world's wealthiest nations put on effort to develop their health sectors, which have registered greater impact on the containment of the health requirement of their population.
In developing countries like the Gambia, even though a great chunk of budgetary allocations go to our health sectors; we do not seem to be registering much positive improvement, as every year we are confronted by the same problems. The fact is that instead of us concentrating on prevention, we expend all our wit on curing, which in fact does not guarantee immunity from disease infection. This means that we continue to be confronted with the same problems every now and then.
It is of crucial importance, therefore, that governments all over the world take the issues that contribute to unhealthiness seriously. There are number of factors worth discussing here, which are responsible for ill health.
Among these are: the life style of people, ignorance, greed, defiance, and a host of other factors. Our desire to feed the exploding world population, coupled with our urge to fully embrace industrialization has meant that climate change remains a global threat to world population.
This is because most of the practices we employ towards this cause contribute to the physical destruction of vegetation cover. These in fact limit our inability to provide food for our populations in the long run.
While some of us contribute to these factors out of sheer ignorance, for we tend not to know the repercussion of our acts, for others it is greed, blended with contemptuous defiance of authority. Poverty stands out as one of the most devastating influences on climate.
Therefore, collaboration across all the relevant sectors of the development community is needed to reach a lasting solution that will alleviate the problems associated with climate change issues. As in the words of the WHO country representative in the Gambia, "if we fail to address climate change and its effect on health, we risk jeopardizing even further our ability to achieve the MDGs".