Letter of the Day | Health and wellness is important
THE EDITOR, Sir:
There have been numerous articles in the news media in recent years concerning health and wellness, including The Gleaner's very timely editorial 'Wellness and society' (Sept 8, 2018).
We need to keep the momentum going to increase health awareness. We cannot progress as a country without healthy minds and bodies.
Severe illnesses take a toll on not just those affected, but their loved ones. It also negatively affects productivity in the workplace.
With cancer so prevalent, along with other diseases, too many Jamaicans don't really act until they have a health emergency or when it's too late.
Prevention is always better than cure. Being proactive with our healthcare is also less costly and less stressful.
We must make this a mindset, to be more health-conscious and responsible for ourselves and our families. There are too many living a sedentary lifestyle, driving to most places with little options for exercise.
Obesity is a growing problem, so is hypertension and stress. As we age we have to be more mindful about our diets, considering metabolism slows. It's also important to emphasise the work-life balance to encourage leisure and relaxation, which is vital to help alleviate stress.
I commend the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) for the work it is doing with limited resources.
We do need to ramp up awareness on some basic issues, such as getting regular testing for cholesterol, sugar, blood pressure, and of course cancer screenings.
It was reported that more than 100 men turned up recently for the JCS prostate screening. While this is commendable, it would've been more encouraging if JCS was able to screen more persons, considering the size of our population.
I believe free, or subsidised, screening should be widely available for basic tests at all public hospitals and clinics, and the Ministry of Health should explore options, and partnerships to facilitate this.
Prostate cancer can be tested with blood tests, physical tests and other means. Colon cancer can be tested with stool tests, colonoscopy. Many cancers are treatable if detected early.
I urge corporate Jamaica to invest more in the health needs of our country, especially with increasing awareness and facilitating basic testing.
Recently, The Guardian Group Foundation, along with National Commercial Bank, donated $3 million to the JCS to increase prostate cancer awareness. They should be commended, and I hope this will encourage others to join the effort.