August 31, 2011

Why "To each one a voice?

In pursuing good health, as in any other social endevour, the power of our own voice cannot be discounted. Actually, being healthy is our choice and by exercising our choice we can create the environement where health can be created for us. Some people say that we have to have all the sophisticated medical care facilities available for us to have good health. This is not quite true.We need those who take care of our disease to be a part of our health system as key partners. But actually, we ourselves are the prime movers of our health. In fact our choice of keeping our homes and our streets and our air clean is what will make us healthy people. Eating clean or well cooked foods will make us not get sick. Drinking clean water will keep us from getting upset stomachs and infestations with worms and the like. So it is how we exercise our choice that will keep us healthy. I am trying to make Maldives a healthy country. That is my goal in life. My work in the past 30 years or more has been to make Maldives a heatlhy place for us all to live a happy life. Environemental sanitation is the first step.We have always tried to maintain a clean environemnt in Maldives. This is however translated in those days as a neat environment. The coral streets were swept well and neatly, the houses although simple and modest were also kept clean -- just as our Islam advises. But we did not know the dangers of what we didnt see. As such we didnt see the germs in the water that may have come from the seepage from our defecating in the open, or what festerd in the food we kept leftover for later. Or we didnt even know the danger of mosquitoes and flies. Fishing was our daily life and so with fishing flies seem to be always around. It was with knowledge and awareness we began to know why flies and mosquitoes and cocroaches and rats etc are dangerous to our heatlh -- because they carry the germs to our food and water that makes us sick when we consume these as contaminated items. Our pervasive knowldege over time has made us rid our country of much of those early diarrheas, and malaria. This has given our country a respectable name in health circles. Our little babies don't die now in the scores they did in those days, and we hardly see a child who has to live with chronic diarrhea; there are medicines when one does get sick and we are so much more aware of what to do to keep our environement clean so that disease can be kept at bay.

But now we are slowly beginning to see our enviornment revert to some of the unkepmtness that signified earlier times. But of course with modern dirt like empty plastic bottels, coke cans, candy and chocolate wrappers, receipt stubs from checkout counters, empty gutka packs, and the like just thrown on the streets of Male. And the spitting! What an increase in spitting! Red and green and frothy! Do we even know what kind of germs those thick blobs of sputum contain? What can give you all kinds of respiratory infections!When these dry, and gets mixed up with the dust, what kind fo spores may remain in the air to be inhaled? How much are we aware of all this? Those cans, bottle caps and plastic wrappers that linger unswept on the side of the road that can harbour bits of water after a rain and breed the mosquitoes that we so complain about and are upset about with the advent of dengue in our cities. It is we who must be answering these questions. Responsibility is a part of what voice gives us in a democratic society. We msut be the voice of conscience that can make our streets clean, keep disease away and feel the sense of wellbeing. To each one a voice!!


Nishaan A. Sattar said...

"To each one a voice". What a great concept. This statement embodies the social responsibility that we all have to contribute to the strength of our community. What a privilege it is to have this "voice" and it is up to us to act on it. I look forward to the work you will do with ENDEVOR to help Maldivians realize that the power to change is in fact in our hands.

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

Thank you Nishaan; every democracy needs voice or it ceases to be a democracy. We hope that in our small community of Maldives too, this value can be nurtured; it has to be if we are to bring out the best from this form of governance. We all need to pitch in -- in all sincerity.