World Health Day Today – Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere

By B.R. Pai

Recently, I came across a 17-country poll that appeared in a national daily which says that 78% people prefer good health over financial security, marriage, and own home. They also prefer spiritual enrichment as part of the good life. I am excited about this good trend around the world. Yes! Good life requires good health too. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is focused on providing good health to one and all.

“All people should have the right to highest possible level of health,” is the principle that the WHO was founded on April 7, 1948. Further, in order to raise public awareness about specific areas of health and wellness, World Health Day is celebrated on 7th April every year.

Here are some hard facts:

  • Each year, 150 million people worldwide face financial distress due to health issues and more than one third are in India.
  • Indians have a high proportion of out-of-pocket expenditure (57.57%) on health because of low insurance coverage and weak public health systems.
  • Over 1.2 billion people in the world live on less than one dollar per day, poverty leading to ill-health due to bad water and sanitation. More than two billion people worldwide lack access to safe water and over 4.5 billion lack adequate sanitation services.

All this called for a new health charter to ensure universal access to affordable healthcare. Hence, in its 70th year, WHO has the theme of World Health Day 2018 as ‘Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere’ with the slogan “Health for All.”  This year’s slogan “Health for All” is an age-old concept from the Shanti Mantras of Upanishads, “Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu” (may everybody be healthy), “Sarve Santhu Niramaya” (may everybody be free from illness).

“Health is a human right. No one should get sick or die just because they cannot access the services they need.”

– Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director-General, WHO

In tune with this, India has introduced ‘Ayushman Bharat’ (National Health Protection Mission), the biggest healthcare scheme of its kind with a cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for 10 crore poorest families. Popularly known as ‘Modi Care,’ the scheme aims at health cover for all. Further, 1,50,000 health sub-centres are to be upgraded to health centres for health promotion and disease prevention. Jan Aushadhi Kendras will drastically reduce the burden on the poor masses.

On the private front too, there are a number of innovations in line with the government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, like low-cost sanitary napkins, low-cost toilets, making them affordable for all. Simply using a hand-wash disinfectant can save people from infections. These are all practical, sustainable development goals where health comes at a low cost. Ultimately, Swachh Bharat leads to Swastha Jeevan.

The best things in life are no cost or low cost. For example, Light, Air, Water (LAW) are three essential basics to the creation and existence of life. If we are in harmony with the LAW of Nature, we would be well on the way to creating health and preventing lifestyle diseases.

Light gives us health. Light improves our alertness, sleep, well-being and performance. As per WHO, getting 15 minutes of sunlight on our body two to three times a week provides the vitamin D-boosting benefits of sun. Vitamin D is also known as “sunshine vitamin.” India has abundant and free sunlight. Sun-gazing for a few minutes only at sunrise or sunset has a positive effect on health. Sunlight is crucial for overall health and protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps muscles, improves brain function and may even protect against cancer. Fresh Air is good for digestion, improves your blood pressure and heart rate, strengthens your immune system, cleans your lungs, increases your energy and sharpens mind and makes you happier. When we breathe deep, we oxygenate the blood, which causes our brain to release endorphins that help reduce stress in the body.

Water is the elixir of life and health. But we are running out of water. In future, there would be water wars, signs of which are already visible now. In many places, we are left with polluted water or no water at all. On Mar. 22, World Water Day, we promised to explore low-cost nature-based solutions to water challenges.

Structured water using the technique of vortex flow provides quality water with optimum usage for best results. In agriculture, structured water penetrates the soil, hydrates the plants better and the yield increases by up to 40%, supporting the ideal of More Crop per Drop. With human consumption, this water cleans and energises each and every cell of the body, making people healthier.

Today’s 24×7 world has changed our lifestyle — social life, eating habits and sleeping patterns causing lifestyle diseases. Let us take a look at the symptoms of these lifestyle diseases. We get fatigued easily and there is a lack of energy. Our immune systems get weakened. Injury or infection leads to inflammation, where our body’s defense system tries to protect us from foreign organisms. Free radicals are formed. Our blood cells then clump together. In case of cancer, there would be tumor growth.

Our poor lifestyle habits are the culprits. We need to replace this stressful lifestyle with some simple, free, natural practices — deep breathing, earthing, consuming good food, optimum exposure to sunlight, drinking good quantity of quality water, proper exercise, meditation and yoga, and round them off with positive thoughts and gratitude.

These lifestyle changes will result in positive effects on our body: Increased energy, a strong immune system, proper oxygenation of cells, reduced stress, inflammation and tumors, thereby preventing or eliminating disease and promoting overall health.

Stress is at the root of most modern-day ills. It can be handled by certain proven age-old practices. Mudras are a very simple set of hand gestures that at zero cost can prevent most ailments and provide relief for others. With the International Yoga Day on 21st June and Mysuru being a front-runner for the main event, spreading awareness and practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness at work and adopting it to one’s lifestyle is of paramount importance.  To achieve Universal Health, the world has to move from Treatment to Prevention of diseases, and from Sickness to Creating Health. Deeper you go in practice, higher you grow in health and wellness.

[The writer B.R. Pai is a well-known industrialist, a wellness promoter and author of Total Wellness Management. His wellness facility and healing centre “Himalayan Salt Crystal Cave” is a first-of-its-kind in India.]

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