Will 2021 be the Year of Good Health?
If we have learnt anything this year, it is to prioritise our relationships and use of time. Already, I hear younger people exclaim about how they had unthinkingly done a one hour commute from Muharraq to Manama, through traffic jams when they could have checked in online and attended meetings. Parents, forced to interact with children more are understanding the needs and concerns of their offspring. Fathers have taken a more hands-on approach to parenting changing family relationship dynamics.
Eldercare too has been transformed by the worry of COVID-19 and the need to re-frame the interaction of older people with the outside world, given the pandemic dangers – now, we are the windows t h r o u g h w h i c h o u r parents look at the world, just like we did through them when we were kids. Suddenly, we have all understood the importance of our domestic help whose support keeps the wheels of our homes and lives turning.
We have also learnt to focus on wellness and although Bahrain’s health insurance plans were rightly set on a back-burner while the nation tackled the pandemic, I think we must make universal health insurance a priority in 2021, especially given the unique mix of demographics and supply-demand that feeds our workplaces.
Bahrain’s healthcare system is undoubtedly world-class and the way the Kingdom managed the pandemic and the vaccine delivery has won it praise from all the world. But to keep the momentum of excellence going and continue our investment in healthcare, we must ensure that every person is covered by insurance and can meet the basic cost of his/her health care. At the same time, we must encourage more public health initiatives which will promote preventive healthcare.
Exercise tracks in parks and corniches to prevent obesity and chronic illnesses, for example; nutritionally sound school canteen meals and building awareness of good quality meals is also much needed. Let us make 2021 the Year of Good Health – among other things. We sure need that change!
(The author Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism)