Your health is your wealth – it’s as simple as that

we all place far too great a burden on the health care system to fix us. Silvia Razgova / The National
we all place far too great a burden on the health care system to fix us. Silvia Razgova / The National

Recent announcements about revamping and reorganising the health care system to prevent overutilisation – and, in some cases, abuse of services – should make everyone pause and ask the question: who is responsible for my health and well-being?

The obvious answer is the individual, but the truth is that we all place far too great a burden on the healthcare system to “fix” us.

Decreasing health coverage comes at a shock for the most vulnerable, but for the majority this is a wake-up call: your health is your wealth, make it your priority.

While there are certain conditions and disorders that do not allow you to take your health into your own hands, many others do. Some chronic diseases are preventable or manageable, for instance.

To achieve the goals of UAE Vision 2021, communities have to take a more active role in preventing disease, promoting health, reducing medical bills and safeguarding the economy. We need to encourage communities across the country to develop activities to reflect that vision.

We need to be united in responsibility. To do so we need to make drastic changes to our behaviour – particularly in our nutritional comprehension.

Everyone in our communities should understand nutritional labelling and educate themselves on the value of our natural food content, the benefits of different products and the way in which we can balance our daily nutrition intake.

We should be united in destiny. All age groups should work together to prevent poor health outcomes – not only for our elderly, but also for our younger generations who will lead the country in the future. Those who are considered public health educators, policymakers and stakeholders should vow to increase public health education and the number of public health experts in clinical and non-clinical settings. To develop the right policies, we must research patterns of disease. Trained and qualified experts on data collection, analysis and interpretation should increase reporting on the risk of disease, while programme developers should conduct community outreach, needs assessments and research.

We need to be united in knowledge. We should encourage younger generations to seek relevant education to meet public health needs.

This includes medical education to fill the gap in practitioners who are desperately needed to manage current volumes of clinical care.

We must also be united in prosperity. It is imperative to impress upon our young communities that prosperity begins with health and wellness.

The saying that your health is your wealth cannot be taken for granted, but must become more than just a slogan in social media.

Young people must learn to value their health as the most valuable indicator of prosperity, because there is nothing worse than one’s inability to cover the cost of poor health outcomes.

Even the wealthiest feel the crunch when it comes to the cost of health care, and no one wants to feel they are losing a battle with ever-increasing cost of treatment.

Sustaining an economy starts with a healthy population, one that actively participates in the future of its community, the future of its economy and prosperity overall.

Taking responsibility for your health can be empowering, knowing you have given yourself a chance of a longer, more productive and higher quality life, to share with family and friends.

Dr Ludmilla Wikkeling Scott is an assistant professor of public health and environmental sciences and sustainability at Zayed University

On Twitter@DrLudmillaFWS

Published: September 20, 2016 04:00 AM

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