Make health count


Make health count

Warrick Lattibeaudiere

Sunday, February 14, 2021

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WHATEVER our field of study, health emerges as the top-most concern, whether we agree or not.

Our productive potential is compromised when we are in poor health. And never in our lifetime has health been put more at risk than now, with the threat of the novel coronavirus and its strains. The local numbers started off with just one under a year ago, slowly inching up, and now numbers in the hundreds are being reported some days.

If the words of one Harvard professor hold true, 40-70 per cent of Earth's population will be hit. And one per cent will die. One per cent seems small, but one per cent of 40 per cent of eight billion equals 28 million. Bear in mind that this is the lower end of the 40-70 per cent range, and this was made at a time when the new strain was unknown.

Jamaica's Government has tightened curfew hours, just in the past days, to the chagrin of some quarters like the private sector. Not only will law-abiding citizens follow these directives, but they recognise that winning the battle starts at the level of the individual. What role are you playing?

Fight COVID-19, not the Government

Some remain quite defiant at the Government's orders to tighten curfew hours. It is sad, because individuals still believe that there is nothing called COVID-19 and that it is a big hoax.

I was taken aback when a vendor asked if I knew anyone with COVID-19, because he doesn't, and on that basis he concludes the virus does not exist. Can you imagine if I applied that reasoning to HIV and AIDS, which, truth be told, I know no one personally who has contracted it? Would I be in my right mind to conclude that because I know no one with HIV, it does not exist? Preposterous! Let us endeavour to be more responsible in the things we say, since some people can be easily swayed.

Back to basics

Mask wearing, sanitising, hand-washing, and social distancing have become household names for many. Keep these practices close, because they could mean your life. In addition to these, what other basic things should we individually ensure to safeguard health?

1) Wash face every day. While we focus much on hand-washing, never overlook the face, so as to guard against eye and other infections. Adults and children, alike, should adhere to this guideline. Healthy eyes should look moist and shiny, and should be checked out if they appear sore, dry or red.

2) Use clean water only. People who store water should ensure it is properly covered. Also, whatever is used to fetch water from these reservoirs should be clean. Stay away from public beaches in these times. Curtail the habit of going straight to the fridge upon reaching home. Go to the bathroom, instead, and take a full-body shower. Then go to the fridge. Boiling water from ponds and rivers, even from the tap or an covered container, helps to get rid of germs. Make sure animals, pets or otherwise, do not go near your water source, and do not use insecticides near water sources either.

3) Dispose of waste properly. You may be alarmed at the rate of how flies, roaches and mice multiply in your home. This may be caused by forgetting to take out the garbage daily. Make sure this is not the case with you.

It takes simple steps, sometimes, to accomplish some great things, such as health, as the aforementioned reveals. Doing these things regularly will transform them into lifelong habits, ones that are not only highly beneficial but inexpensive.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere, PhD, a minister of religion for the past 23 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at University of Technology, Jamaica, where he is also director of the Language, Teaching and Research Centre. E-mail him at

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