BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Archive for October, 2020

It is a daunting task to remain calm, positive and hopeful in the middle of a pandemic. The pandemic period is a time of uncertainty, anxiety and fear given how fluid the situation is. With Covid-19 whose mode of spread is airborne, the situation becomes even more delicate as it is very easy to get infected. Despite the current pandemic, it is essential to look on the bright side  and turn off the news every once in a while. This is important because it is a hard time for everyone and it’s easy to become frustrated, depressed or stressed out. Emotions run all over the place ranging from feeling very okay to feeling very scared, so patience with oneself is paramount. Indulging distractions such as watching movies and going out with friends can be really helpful ways remain sane. Other ways to reduce anxiety and calm one’s nerves  include:

  • Allowing oneself to feel
  • Taking deep breaths 
  • Staying connected with family and friends online
  • Being physically active at home
  • Daily Meditations

Besides the preceding physical ways to stay positive and keep hope alive, some people who are more religious and spiritual may chose to look inward to find hope. With religious homes closedown due to the pandemic, personal spirituality must be practiced to connect with one’s own creator in order to successfully use religion as a coping mechanism. 

Covid-19 has thrown more light on the harsh realities of the many inequities and inequalities that burden our world. Already existing wealth disparities between, and within countries now risk being exacerbated even further by this pandemic. The United Nations, World Health Organisation and other international leaders need to recommit to their  vision and values as well as  use other multi-lateral bodies—including the G-20, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank—to proactively support the world’s most vulnerable.

Covid-19 poses a brand new challenge for world leaders as there hasn’t been any pandemic in recent decades that brought the world to a complete halt like this. The disease prospects is on track to potentially cause a significant  economic downturn  and a high number of deaths with impacts  felt around the globe. To acutely prevent this historic threat, national and international leaders must immediately put aside narrow nationalism and temporary, selfish considerations to work together in the common interest of all humanity. The  past and present Secretary-Generals of the United Nations called for an additional $2 billion in humanitarian aid to control this pandemic. This aid is expected to contribute to key efforts to reduce spread of the virus such as developing and distributing tests, treatments and vaccines. In addition, global leaders need to set preventive measures in place by developing a global governance system that can cope more effectively with future pandemics. 

To keep hope alive, everyone must remember that nobody is above this suffering, and anyone can be infected. Therefore, it’s important to extend our hands to others who lack homes, resources or families to protect them. We have a unique opportunity to come together and bridge our differences as one humanity. Whether it’s by donating blood, giving to local food banks, checking in on neighbours or just staying home- these small gestures in a time of crisis make the big  difference. This crisis shows us that we are just one global family—even though we live apart. Consequently, we have a responsibility to exercise compassion and help. In this time, let us also make it a duty to go out of our way to support health care heroes who answered the call of a world in need. Take a moment to send a thank you note to a local hospital and express gratitude to neighbours who works in health care, because every sign of support goes a long way. It is this spirit of support and  global togetherness that keeps us positive and hopeful. In this time of crisis, we are all neighbours, and success will only be achieved when all people, in all places, are safe..

As with the principle of impermanence; eventually, this pandemic will pass, as have wars and other terrible threats that humanity faced, lived beyond and overcame. I genuinely hope that we stay positive and hopeful despite the uncertainties that surround us because we will successfully rebuild our global community when this is over. We are conquerors.

Everyone has probably heard the popular saying, “health is wealth”. Indeed, this is true because health is considered an invaluable possession without which life becomes miserable and burdensome. To better understand this saying, it is important to consider the  meaning and significance of the two major  words that make it up. According to the World Health Organization, Health does not only mean the absence of disease but a complete physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It also includes having a healthy and enabling environment which makes it easier to make healthier choices and lead healthier lives. On the other hand, Wealth is defined as large amounts of money, valuable possessions, properties or other forms of riches. Wealth, like health, is an essential need and it’s possession almost always  guarantees a life of satisfaction, happiness, success , contentment and freedom from lack.

Many people share in the belief that “health is wealth” because no matter how much wealth one acquires, it is impossible to enjoy it without good health. Therefore, the happiness and satisfaction that comes with wealth is unattainable without health.Equating health to wealth implies that good health is all one needs to be happy and live a fulfilling life that would otherwise be attributed to wealth. This was further proved to be true in the the light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic as no amount of wealth could buy or guarantee freedom from coronavirus infection. The pandemic showed that health was invaluable because it couldn’t be bought with any amount of wealth and wealthy people died helplessly. It is important to note that many people prioritize wealth over health and are in  constant struggle and stress to acquire  wealth. Such people often compromise or lose their health entirely- they clearly take health for granted and do not share in the ideology that “ health is wealth”, hence, the need to chase wealth at the expense of  health. They believe that without wealth, health is meaningless as there may be hardships and unhappiness due to lack of resources. Consequently, “Health is Wealth” can be viewed  as a mindset and may represent an unrealistic worldview and approach to life in general.

Although simple and seemingly straightforward, “Health is Wealth”  is an ancient adage  that is filled  with deep wisdom and immense meaning.  As a worldview, people hold varying opinions of the phrase; Some believe that wealth is everything and can buy anything including intangibles like health, love and happiness. However, this is false; health has been seen to be more valuable than wealth in all societies around the world. Diseases and of course, Covid-19 exist as a constant reminder that no amount of money, influence or resources can save anyone from death. Health is wealth because without it, no one can enjoy anything in life. Health is wealth because without it no one would be able to work productively and therefore, there would be little chances and opportunities of acquiring wealth . To generate income, one has to work and that cannot be done without good health. Therefore, health is also very necessary for generating wealth which is thus dependent on it.

For the majority of us,  ‘Wealth’ means having lots of money and properties such as lands, houses, luxury cars, farms, precious stones or things that have monetary value.. But this limits the scope and vision of the term ‘Wealth’. To broaden the meaning, we recall that the ‘knowledge’ and ‘experience’ are termed  ‘Wealth’. which although their value can bring money , does not directly translate to money. 

The  following reiterate that truly, “Health is Wealth”

  • Health is the Foundation for Wealth: Health promotes wealth because a healthy person is more active, intelligent and efficient, and this directly affects income and wealth creation
  • Health is an Investment with Good Returns: Healthy people are more likely to live longer than unhealthy people , and the longer one lives the more they enjoy their wealth.
  • Health is a means to Better Living: Good health naturally empowers the body to maximize its potential physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and financially
  • Healthy Mind Stays in a Healthy Body: Intelligence, creativity, humour, humility, self-esteem, communication, conscience and other aspects of the mind are dependent on a healthy lifestyle
  • Money Saved is Money Earned: Good health saves the money which could be used to treat illnesses, people have gone bankrupt from treatment costs

In conclusion, having the mindset that “Health is Wealth” and prioritizing health issues are ways to uphold the adage while laziness, poor time management and carefreeness are ways to derail ones health.By stressing the dynamic relationship between health and wealth, we illustrate how BlessWorld Foundation, works to improve health systems through the World Health Initiative project and many other programs. Our organization maintains that the health sector should not be viewed as a mere drain on resources but rather  a precursor of economic gains and wealth.

A balanced food supply which provides adequate nutrition is essential to health, particularly in response to Covid-19. The  World Health Organization (WHO) advocates optimum nutrition, in addition to social distancing, use of face masks and proper hand washing, as way to delay or prevent Covid-19 infection.  WHO has also released food safety guidance for governments, food businesses, health workers and the general public in order to maintain good health and prevent malnutrition and immunodeficiency. To effectively combat any infection, it is important to attain and maintain good nutritional status. Therefore, one of the aims of a proper diet is to  ensure that the body is in perfect condition to fight infections. Nutritional status of individuals contribute to their overall immune resilience even though it may be affected by  age, sex, health status, life style and medications.

The words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” shows that for over 2500 years, food and nutrition have been recognized as important denominators of health and wellness. Good nutrition and dietary nutrient intake impact the immune system through gene expression, cell activation, and signaling molecules modification. More so, various dietary nutrients are determinants of gut microbial composition which shape immune responses. Adequate intake of essential minerals and vitamins remain essential for the maintenance of immune function. 

 Self-isolation, lockdown, and social distancing remain effective measures to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infection; however, they lead to remarkable challenges in eating patterns, sleeping habits, and physical activity. As a consequence, sedentary behaviors that affect mental and physical health,  increase  and may result in a heightened risk of obesity. Fear and anxiety may also cause changes in dietary habits resulting in unhealthy dietary patterns and less desire to eat nutritious foods. Although there is currently no evidence that any nutrient can treat or completely prevent any viral infection, a balanced diet will guarantee a strong immune system that can help withstand infection. The following are some professional dietary recommendations :

  • Daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables 
  • Whole grains and nuts intake
  • Animal and plant proteins consumption 
  • Avoid irregular snacking.
  • Do not overcook vegetables as it leads to the loss of important nutrients
  • Prepare and serve food at acceptable temperatures (≥72°C for 2 mins).
  • Limit the salt intake to 5g daily
  • Consume unsaturated fats  rather than saturated fats
  • Drink about 10 glasses of water  daily
  • Avoid, carbonated, concentrated juices, and all drinks which contain sugar.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise, meditation, and regular sleep
  • Eat at home to avoid contact with other people

It is important to note that Covid-19 does not see or treat everyone the same way. Malnourished people who have weaker immunity may be at higher risk of severe illness from the virus. Concurrently, poor metabolic health and chronic diseases including obesity and diabetes, have been associated with worse Covid-19 outcomes, including risk of hospitalization and death. Good nutrition and nutritional resilience are key elements of the body’s defense and society’s readiness to combat this global challenge. Focusing on nutritional well-being increases opportunities for creating synergies between public health and health determinants, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Optimal nutrition and dietary nutrient consumption impacts the immune system significantly;  consequently, strengthening the immune system provides a feasible and sustainable way to survive Covid-19 since it has no specific treatment. 

As always, BlessWorld foundation- like many non-profit organizations, continues to support her community in order to manage the virus and flatten the pandemic curve. Most recently is the 2020  Cradle2fame talent show aimed to empower the youth through healthy competitions to win prizes. These monetary prices can help these youths afford healthy nutritious food and  overcome the challenge of dood insecurity due to increased cost.