IN the history of mankind, 2020 will be remembered as the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, an ordeal that the whole of humanity experienced. It is clear that a long-drawn battle against the pandemic continues. Many have lost their lives while others have recovered after long illness. All countries have suffered due to prolonged lockdowns. Almost every country’s economy has been shattered, and the disease has impacted every segment of society.
Though we can find similar circumstances in history, this health crisis is global in nature and its exponential spread is extraordinary. The rising number of Covid-19 cases across the world is creating a sense of panic among the masses. The second wave of the pandemic has arrived; thus, observance of SOPs and continuous vigilance is the need of the hour.
It is said that every challenge bears the seeds of opportunity, and so the pandemic also bears the seeds of opportunity in disguise. The Holy Quran mentions that “Verily, with the hardship, there is relief.”
Let us see what kind of opportunities it presents. Firstly, it gives us a chance to review and reset our lifestyles. There is a solid connection between our health and lifestyle. Therefore, the subject of maintaining, protecting and strengthening physical, mental and emotional health and wellness has acquired more importance during this pandemic, and people have become very health conscious. In future, governments at both national and local levels have to earmark sufficient resources in the health sector, especially in educating masses on how to maintain their health.
Every challenge bears the seeds of opportunity.
Many argue that holistic health education at the school level is important. The major topics of health education include regular body care, personal hygiene, weight monitoring, exercise, immunisation, disregarding substance abuse and unhealthy diets, and stress-free social interactions, etc. All these topics need to be incorporated in our school curriculum with the aim of creating health consciousness at the individual level.
Every student from the primary to secondary level needs to be taught how physical, mental and emotional health is to be maintained, strengthened, nurtured and enhanced. If the present generation of students is healthy, the future will be safe. Schools need to be encouraged to have health clubs within their premises to create a healthy environment.
The notion of health and wellness is all encompassing. It is a fact that an individual is what he/she eats. The body fundamentally depends upon a daily diet. The famous saying that a ‘healthy body breeds a healthy mind’ is instructive. A healthy body is not something that can be achieved without effort. The fitness of the body depends on constant efforts, care, protection, nourishment and maintenance. Many of us tend to lead an easy life, not caring about the body till some affliction strikes. We then get depressed and question why it had to happen. Therefore, what is essential is to remember that prevention is better than cure.
To stay in the pink of health and cut down the risk of any kind of infection, nutrition-rich food is the best solution. That is because only when the human body is fit and strong inside will it be able to fight viruses. Nature has provided many nutrients that can be added to one’s diet to reduce the risk of falling ill. This aspect of health education relates to immunity. We are born with some level of immunity to invaders. This system is a divine blessing that provides safety against pathogens. It makes us immune or resistant to infectious disease, typically by eating healthy food prepared in accordance with dietary rules in a clean environment. School curricula as well as social media outlets should highlight ways and means to boost immunity.
The proper administration of vaccines also stimulates the body’s immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. Pakistan is facing difficulties in eradicating poliovirus, which continues to resurface. Schools and other educational institutions should play their role and assume the responsibility of educating students, parents and other stakeholders to get timely drops and vaccines against infectious diseases.
Another important aspect of health education relates to personal hygiene, which means regular body cleanliness. Without cleanliness, the body can become a nurturing ground for bad germs and parasites to grow and multiply. If one keeps clean regularly, it is much less likely that these germs and parasites will get inside the body. The need of the hour is to maintain good personal hygiene. All religions, especially Islam, are very emphatic about cleanliness, and Islam declares that cleanliness is a part of faith.
In a nutshell, the present pandemic provides us a reminder that all of us must be vigilant in matters of health. Without health, our life is of little value. This needs to be inculcated in all generations.
The writer is an educationist.
Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2021