We Sell Health And Buy Diseases

(Salma Ali, Islamabad)

I spent my summer vacation in my home town Chitral, which is famous for its beautiful, lush green scenery and fresh fruits. My brother-in-law is a Doctor who provides free services to the surrounding valley people at home because of unavailability of health facility. During my stay I observed many females visiting our home with their children suffering from different health problems such as, Vitamin D, calcium deficiency, anemia, yellow teeth, pale face etc. The frequency of female visits aroused my curiosity to know the reason of these health issues. Moreover, some of my relatives and friends shared stories of students feeling dizzy and fainting in morning assembly and classes. To understand the causes of the aforesaid issues, I reflected on my context. I saw that we have rich dietary resources; we have all major food groups that are essential for keeping the body healthy such as seasonal fruits, vegetables and milk products all these are the source of income of my valley.

In my valley men and women work together on the fields to fulfill their and their children’s needs and provide comfortable life to their children. But during this struggle I found that, they forget their own health as well as their children’s, resultantly; majority of the children and adults become malnourished and encounter different disease such as, eye sight problem, nails problems, dental problem, anemia, teeth problems, calcium deficiencies and weakness and so on. There are many reasons behind that, but the major reason is lacking the skills of usage of the available food resources, which needs attention. The mothers lack food making skills and have no knowledge and information of nutritionally rich and healthy diet.

Moreover, the trend of buying food items from the shops such as biscuits, toffees, Chips etc is increasing rapidly. People prefer to use PEPSI, Dew, 7up at night to digest the food. Most of the available items in shops are of low quality and sometime past expiry date, which parents buy or give money to their kids to buy. The low-quality food available in the market badly affects the health of my area people. I observed that majority of the food items available in the shop is of lowest quality whether cooking oil, cold drinks or biscuits and sweets.

Moreover, after a hardship and long struggle these parents sell fruits and fresh vegetables and buy unhealthy food items such as Ghee, Oil etc.

On the other hand, recent advancement has made food of every season available in the market which is disaster for health. As the food sellers use different injections and chemicals that not only ruins the taste but also nutritional value of the food.

Remember, human body needs balanced amount of nutrients and energy for its survival and is essential for good health. Having good health doesn’t only means having good physique only but it also means having a healthy mind. This is supported by the definition of WHO which says, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (1948: 04). Looking the above definition if person wants to be healthy both physically and mentally he or she will need balance diet which is the core to be healthy. Now, a question emerges, how do we get balance diet, and what is its impact? Balanced diet contains all the six groups of nutrients; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, fibers, mineral salts and water in correct proportions. Each of the above groups has a distinct function in the human body. They provide vital energy to life processes growth and development. Further, it helps in avoiding some fatal diseases like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure etc. That’s why it is the responsibility of every person to take care of their own health and reflect whether they are taking healthy food or not.

Chitral a little heaven on earth with simple and hospitable people is becoming a hub of different diseases because of some mean people who for their profit playing with the health of people.

It is the prime responsibility of Health-related organizations to raise awareness among people regarding healthy diet and develop youth volunteer groups who can further disseminate such messages in the communities. Furthermore, I would request the food authority to ban such un healthy and low-quality food items and keep proper check and balance.

It is a humble request to the NGOs to start a project of cooking for females. Arrange healthy meal cooking classes for mothers and help them make tasty and quick cooking recipes so they can not only provide tasty but nutritionally rich food to their kids.

Dalai Lama nicely present a struggle of a human in his quote by saying “We sacrifice our health in order to make wealth, then we sacrifice our wealth in order to get back our health.

Dear Parents, please do not sell health and buy diseases. Please spare sometime focus you and your family health and make homemade food for your kids. Do not keep eggs, milk, yogurt, cold milk etc. for your guest but provide the same to your kids as well. Please do not scarify your health for making wealth as the cycle will repeat itself if you give prefer to one part of the other.

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