Governments, institutions, individuals must do more to improve public health

By Tho Xin Yi

Grief is difficult to deal with but everyone knows what it’s like: it begins as a harrowing feeling of numbness that pervades your body, and only much later will you start to grasp the magnitude of the loss. Everything changes. Losing someone close to you is a painful experience and it is, ultimately, utterly indescribable. Your life will never be the same again. But the fact remains that you still have a life to live and others to care for, so while you hold on to the memory and the sense of loss, you keep reminding yourself that things must go on because there are others whose lives are inextricably linked to ours, and who must continue on life’s journey. In this day and age where everyone wants to be successful and society accords recognition according to the level of that success, it’s easy to forget that health and a balanced life are paramount. Simply put, death involves our bodies failing for whatever reason, and it comes to everyone. The point is, it shouldn’t come before it’s due.

Social Responsibility The government, and indeed society as a whole, must allocate more resources toward creating awareness of the importance of healthy living. We already spend billions annually on medical facilities, drugs and medical equipment, and the budget (except for at least some hospitals) keeps increasing every year. We could save a lot of that money and, more importantly, save more lives if more people were taught to value healthy living and if such a culture were to be deeply ingrained. Television stations naturally have a lot of time for advertisements as they get paid for them, but they should devote a decent amount of airtime to health programs as part of their community and social responsibility. Likewise, the Multimedia Commission, which is ever so vigilant for those who do ��damage�� on social media and radio, ought to revise its priorities and watch out for unscrupulous advertisements that pose health hazards, especially to children. The commission should also set aside a sizable chunk of the levy it takes from telecommunications companies in order to promote good health, and if present regulations do not permit such use of the funds, then change the regulations. The country needs a wake-up call on how many problems we will face if the current levels of Malaysian ill health are permitted to persist.