Today, 7 April 2022, is globally recognised as World Health Day, and the Cayman Islands joins the global community in observing this day of awareness.
In the midst of a pandemic, a polluted planet, increasing diseases like cancer, asthma and heart disease, the World Health Organisation has called for global action needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
Under the theme “Our Planet, Our Health”, we will strive towards a community where wellness is deemed high priority.
This is a necessary and welcome shift as we envision life beyond coronavirus. We are still coping with the new reality of the pandemic, mourning those who have lost their lives and working earnestly to protect the vulnerable among us at present. However, COVID-19 could have deep, lasting effects on our planet if we do not aim for a sustainable, healthy recovery.
This is why the World Health Organisation has created the following six steps toward a healthy recovery from COVID-19:
To cherish and protect the source of all human health, the natural world;
To invest in vital, life-saving services like access to water and sanitation and clean energy in healthcare facilities;quickly transition to clean, renewable sources of energy;
To switch to healthy and sustainable food systems;
To make all our towns and cities green and healthy; and
To shift from an economy driven by profit and pollution to an economy driven by fairness and wellbeing.
These goals are all aligned with that of your government, and we are diligently working towards adapting them to suit the needs of the people of the Cayman Islands. If we were to add a goal of our own, it would be to ensure that all persons have access to adequate mental health resources based on their needs.
We have already begun to work toward these goals – from solar energy at the Cayman Islands Hospital, to transitioning to integrated solid waste management, to instituting an Adolescent Mental Health hub focused on protecting our young people.We acknowledge that a post-COVID society must be healthier, more sustainable and overall better than the one before it.
As we work to achieve these recommendations, you can also do your part. I encourage one and all to avoid consuming highly processed foods, conserve energy by turning off lights when not needed around the home and in the workplace, using less plastic and more recyclable grocery bags. We can also embrace walking and cycling as transport to reduce air pollution, improve our quality of life, mitigate climate change and improve physical activity!
Additionally, I encourage the people of the Cayman Islands to begin the culture of wellness by taking responsibility for their own health by implementing self-care routines, seeking regular physical and mental health checks and following healthy nutrition and exercise practices. Make wellness a core facet in your home, your workplaces, and your schools and anywhere you are able to influence others. Take advantage of Cayman’s natural beauty by venturing outdoors.
A society where wellness is a priority is a healthy society. It is my desire to see the Cayman Islands become a beacon for health and wellness here in our region, and globally. Happy World Health Day.