Health and nutrition will always go hand-in-hand. They are the two sides to the same coin. One cannot define health without nutrition. Nutrition is the foundation on which the health of the state stands tall and strong.
Nutrition is essential for the growth, development and well-being of a human being. It is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. When nutrition is combined with physical activity, it helps us maintain a healthy body weight, which is the driving force to achieve the cardinal objective of a disease-free body. Proper nutrition right from birth helps keep communicable diseases at bay.
Therefore, disease-free Maharashtra is the base of the pyramid and its tip is Healthy Maharashtra.
Young doctors should ask themselves two questions. Why have I become a doctor? What is the aim of my life? Living is not about adding another year to your existence. It is about adding quality to your life, and there is quality in service to those who need them.
In today’s fast-moving world, the term nutrition has been totally misconstrued by society. We tend to relate this to food that is rich in fat. A healthy diet should contain carbohydrate, proteins, vitamins and minerals. The state should actively promote the importance of following a balanced diet. Nutrition for all should be the motto. However, the despairing reality is the government doesn’t take this fact seriously, and lack of political will is primarily responsible for this.
There are two major aspects of health – curative care and preventive care. Nutrition and vaccination come under preventive care. The state should first focus on prevention. The time is here to work collectively and create an efficacious mechanism based on the model of preventive care, which has been neglected completely by the policymakers. Vaccination programmes have to be implemented effectively so we see the fruits of preventive care sooner.
Clean surroundings, safe drinking water and personal health and hygiene are keys to preventive care. If we assure safe and potable drinking water to our citizens, a lot of gastrointestinal ailments can be prevented.
Development of medical infrastructure to support the entire state requires political will, but as citizens, we must keep the pressure on the government to take measures. Health infrastructure is the strength of a healthy society.
The next question is about human resource. Qualified doctors should be encouraged to take up the challenges in the rural areas. Merely making it mandatory will not serve the purpose. Incentives should be provided to doctors who work in rural and tribal areas to generate will among every doctor.
Also, young doctors should ask themselves two questions. Why have I become a doctor? What is the aim of my life? If the answer is their aim is to achieve everything in life, then that’s what it is, and the way forward is simple. But if the answer is a vision and aim to work for the people, then it is the actual duty of the doctor. If a doctor decides with conviction, that he/she wants to go to rural and tribal areas and serve the people, then, believe me, it will give them immensely satisfying lives. There’s no substitute for this happiness.
Living is not about adding another year to your existence. It is about adding quality to your life, and there is quality in service to those who need them.
And, last but not the least, family welfare and planning are the burning issues as of now. These are the most neglected issues, as there is no agenda or planning ready with the government. Population control also indirectly affects the health of the state.
The author is a Padma Shri awardee and a social activist