Home > Issue 28: July 2012 > We are in the sickness business: we need to get into the health business

We are in the sickness business: we need to get into the health business

– Shinah, COO –

In an article in Time magazine a doctor had commented that he never saw a patient who was well, all his time as a heart surgeon, all he saw was patients who were sick. Some might argue that why should someone who is in good health go to see a Dr especially in Maldives. It’s hard to get an appointment for a Dr and even more difficult and time consuming to actually see the Dr, do the test or x rays. The health system in this country as well as other countries is designed to treat sickness and disease care rather than health care. Clinics and hospitals are more focused on curing the sick than actually trying to prevent the sickness and advocating for healthy lifestyles. Hardly there are clinics, programs, seminars, lectures or even consultation sessions that are designed for healthy living and staying healthy by the local health care providers. With the introduction of National health insurance in the Maldives, people are ever more discouraged to visit Dr’s when they are healthy which is rightly so as it increases the burden on the insurance scheme.

Cleveland Clinic a 1100 bedded Hospital in Cleveland, USA has adopted a new view of health care, where Physicians, Patients and Staff of the hospital are enrolled in a program called “Lifestyle 180” which is an innovative approach to good health that uses cooking classes, exercise sessions, counselling and yoga to educate patients about how to eat better, become more physically active, manage stress and, ultimately prevent long term and chronic illnesses such as heart attack, cholesterol, diabetes and strokes. The participants are given a tool kit, complete with yoga mat, recipe book and tips on navigating the food aisles in super markets, which is part of being health conscious, and assist in living a healthy life. In Addition to the hospital other corporations and business sponsor people to join this program to encourage people to start living healthily.

With health care and medicines costing more and more each day as well as the emotional trauma of having long illnesses or taking care of sick people, this approach of health care is something that we need to adopt in the Maldives. Especially with the social difficulties that are part and parcel of living in Male, few people would want to get a long term sickness and be confined to hospital much worse at home where most of the population lives in small concrete blocks. In the islands where there are more spacious living conditions and less stress compared to Male’ the healthcare is not at the same standard.

While prevention is very much talked about by the medical profession it has never been practiced as it should be, while government, politicians, health care providers are talking about the increase in the cost of health care, few realize that spending in preventive, healthy life style programs and educating the public will in the long term reduce the cost of health care, as more people will adopt better living philosophies which in turn will make people less sick.  The insurance companies should cover to some extent these sorts of preventive health programs, clinics and consultations so as to encourage more people to be healthy. Corporations should endorse such programs in to the corporate structure and help the employees in being healthy. Most of all hospitals and clinics and Dr’s should start programs that are designed to make the population healthy and prevent sicknesses.

Categories: Issue 28: July 2012
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