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My Health, My Right, Perspectives from Leading Health Experts on World Health Day 2024

New Delhi (India), April 5: On the occasion of World Health Day 2024, the global community unites to commemorate the intrinsic right to health. This article aims to delve into the profound nexus between health and rights, drawing upon the perspectives of eminent health experts. In an era fraught with unprecedented health challenges, the insights shared by these leading professionals offer invaluable reflections on the current state of global health and strategies for the future. Through their expertise and experiences, readers are invited to contemplate the universal significance of health as an essential human entitlement, deserving of utmost attention and safeguarding.

Dr. Upendra Bhalerao, MS, MCh, DNB FIACS, Consultant Cardiovascular Thoracic and Transplant Surgeon, Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai

Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk factors, making informed choices, and taking proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of heart disease, including coronary heart disease and heart attacks. Adopting a flexible and balanced eating plan can help lower high blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. Engaging in regular physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week is crucial to lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Muscle-strengthening exercises, such as weightlifting and yoga, are beneficial. A heart-healthy diet low in saturated fats and limited alcohol intake can help manage LDL cholesterol levels. Smoking cessation is vital as any amount of smoking damages the heart and blood vessels. Stable blood sugar levels, particularly for individuals with diabetes, are essential for heart health. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and seeking prompt medical care from a cardiac physician are integral parts of maintaining heart health. Prioritizing self-care is fundamental to healthy living.

Dr. Nishi Tandon, Director & Chief Consultant OralH, Founder of Twak Aesthetics, Gurgaon

World Health Day serves as a poignant reminder that health is an inherent human right. Access to healthcare, nutritious food, clean water, and a safe environment are essential components of this right. As we celebrate World Health Day on April 7th, it’s imperative to recognize the theme “My Health, My Right” and reflect on the significance of oral health in overall well-being. Oral health isn’t just about a sparkling smile; it’s intricately linked to our overall health. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to various systemic diseases like cardiovascular issues and diabetes. Recognizing the interconnection between oral health and overall health is crucial for promoting holistic well-being. Simple habits like regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can significantly impact not only our oral health but also our overall health. As we mark World Health Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering individuals to take ownership of their health. Let’s pledge to prioritize our health, advocate for our rights, and recognize the importance of oral health in achieving holistic well-being.

Dr. Jaydutt B Tekani, MBBS, MD, DNB Cardiology, FSCAI, FESC, Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist – K K Patel Super Speciality Hospital, Bhuj, Gujarat

World Health Day serves as a global platform to reaffirm the intrinsic right to health for every individual. As a Senior Interventional Cardiologist, I recognize that cardiovascular health plays a pivotal role in overall well-being. ‘My Health, My Right’ resonates deeply, emphasizing that access to quality healthcare is not a privilege but a fundamental human entitlement. Cardiovascular diseases continue to pose a significant threat to public health, yet many cases are preventable with timely intervention and lifestyle modifications. It’s imperative that we prioritize preventive measures, promote healthy living, and ensure equitable access to cardiac care services. By fostering collaboration between healthcare providers, policymakers, and communities, we can address the root causes of cardiovascular diseases and pave the way for a healthier future. On this World Health Day, let us unite in our commitment to championing health as a universal right and strive towards creating inclusive health systems for all.

Dr. Sonali Bassi, BDS, Chief Consultant Surgeon, Oracare Cosmetic Dental Clinic, Gurgaon

On World Health Day, Dr. Sonali Bassi, Chief Consultant Surgeon at Oracare Cosmetic Dental Clinic, stresses the pivotal connection between oral health and overall well-being. Through meticulous oral examinations, dentists can unveil a plethora of systemic issues, ranging from stress-related manifestations to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and gastric ailments. Even skin lesions like lichen planus and psoriasis may manifest orally, providing crucial diagnostic clues. Furthermore, indicators like inflammation and periodontal disease in the gums could signal underlying cardiovascular concerns, underlining the intricate interplay between oral and systemic health. Dr. Bassi advocates for proactive preventive dental care to mitigate these risks, emphasizing the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. This includes adhering to a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and minimizing the consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Additionally, maintaining optimal oral hygiene practices, such as replacing toothbrushes regularly, contributes not only to improved self-esteem but also to overall health and well-being. Dr. Bassi’s insights echo the theme of World Health Day, reminding us that our greatest wealth lies in prioritizing our health.

Dr. Rahul Rane,  MBBS, MS, DNB(Ortho), MNAMS, FISS(Korea), Minimally Invasive Spine and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Hospital Attachment – Hiranandani Hospital, Nanavati Hospital, Criticare Hospital, Raksha Hospital, Mumbai

Strong bones are essential for overall well-being, and in India, we have access to a variety of calcium-rich foods and exercises that can support bone health naturally. Milk, yoghurt, and paneer are staples rich in calcium, while sesame seeds, almonds, and leafy greens offer additional sources of this essential nutrient. Okra, sardines, soy products, and Ragi (Nachani), Makhana round out the list of calcium-rich foods commonly found in Indian cuisine. Complementing these dietary choices with regular exercise is key to maintaining strong bones. Activities like walking, dancing, and stair climbing promote bone density, while resistance exercises such as squats and lunges stimulate bone growth. By incorporating these simple habits into your lifestyle, you can fortify your bones and reduce the risk of fractures and other bone-related issues. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes, especially if you have existing health concerns. With dedication and consistency, you can build a foundation of robust bone health for better overall health and vitality.

Dr. Rajinder Thaploo, MBBS, MD Medicine, DNB Cardiology, Senior Consultant & Interventional Cardiologist – Vivekanand Medical Institution, Palampur

As a cardiologist, I’ve dedicated my career to promoting heart health and advocating for accessible healthcare for all. World Health Day serves as a poignant reminder that health is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. ‘My Health, My Right’ encapsulates the essence of this day, emphasizing the importance of empowering individuals to take charge of their health. Cardiovascular diseases remain a leading cause of death worldwide, yet many are preventable through lifestyle modifications and timely interventions. We must prioritize preventive measures and ensure equitable access to cardiac care services. By raising awareness, promoting healthy lifestyles, and implementing evidence-based strategies, we can mitigate the burden of cardiovascular diseases and create a healthier future for generations to come. On this World Health Day, let us unite in our commitment to safeguarding the right to health for everyone, everywhere. 

Dr. Roopakshi Pathania, MBBS, MD Medicine, DM Neurology, Consultant Neurology VMI, Palampur

World Health Day serves as a vital platform to raise awareness of global health issues, notably encompassing mental health and neurological diseases. These conditions transcend demographics, impacting individuals regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Alarmingly, mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide, while neurological disorders contribute significantly to global morbidity and mortality rates. However, despite their prevalence, access to appropriate treatment and support is hindered by various barriers such as stigma, resource scarcity, and inadequate medical training. Addressing these obstacles requires heightened awareness, destigmatization efforts, and education on recognizing symptoms and seeking help. Collaboration among individuals, healthcare providers, policymakers, and community organizations is paramount in promoting mental and neurological health. By fostering a collective approach, advocating for increased awareness and resources, and working collaboratively, we can strive towards a fairer, healthier world. Through these concerted efforts, we can enhance outcomes for those affected by these conditions and advance overall well-being.

Dr. Bharath Raj, MBBS, DNB – Orthopedics/Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement Surgeon Managing Director and Chief Orthopedic Surgeon at Mithra Multispeciality Hospital, Bengaluru

With the recent advances in technology, and the advent of new hospitals ranging from broad-based multispeciality hospitals to core hospitals the patient has the right to say “MY HEALTH MY RIGHT”. There is a need for the patient to choose what is in the patient’s best interest. Corporate target practice to small hospitals trying to sustain, hospitals are going out of their way to woo patients and cut corners to reach their outcomes. Every patient has now become a consumer and the doctor-patient relationship has hit a new low with consumerism. There is no dearth of doctors or hospitals to give second or third opinion and that makes the patient rethink what is the right treatment choice. The theme of this year “My Health My Right” focuses on quality affordable care where the patient chooses what’s best for him/her with a cafeteria approach being used by all hospitals and not by force.

Dr. Anita Rao, MBBS, MD – Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Infertility Specialist, Bangalore

The ability to make decisions regarding our health, bodies, and sexual lives is a fundamental human right, irrespective of identity or location, without facing fear, violence, or discrimination. Sadly, globally, individuals are bullied, discriminated against, and even arrested for exercising these rights. Instances abound where women are denied contraception without spousal consent or teenagers are refused life-saving terminations due to legal restrictions. Shockingly, 40% of women of childbearing age live in areas where abortion is banned or inaccessible. 215 million women express a desire to use contraception but are unable to do so. As a gynecologist, “My health, my right” epitomizes patient autonomy and empowerment. It signifies individuals’ entitlement to informed decisions regarding their health, including reproductive health, devoid of coercion or stigma. This ethos underscores the importance of respecting patients’ choices and delivering inclusive, empathetic care aligned with their needs. Advocating for women’s health rights encompasses ensuring access to healthcare, education, and resources for informed decision-making concerning their bodies.

Dr. L. Kiran Kumar Reddy, M. D., D. M. Cardiology (JIPMER), Interventional Cardiologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Ameerpet, Hyderabad

Health is a fundamental human right. When it comes to cardiology, it emphasizes the importance of individuals having the right to access quality cardiovascular care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, regardless of their socio-economic status, geographic location, or other factors. I advise Preventive Measures: regular screenings, lifestyle interventions, and education on risk factors like smoking, poor diet, and physical inactivity. Early Diagnosis: tools like electrocardiograms (ECG), echocardiography, and cardiac biomarkers to detect cardiovascular conditions at an early stage when interventions are most effective. Treatment Options: Availability of evidence-based treatments including medications, interventional procedures (such as angioplasty and stent placement), and surgical interventions (such as bypass surgery) based on individual patient needs. Rehabilitation and Support: Access to cardiac rehabilitation programs aimed at improving cardiovascular health, physical fitness, and overall well-being following a cardiac event or procedure. Equity and Inclusion: Addressing disparities in access to cardiology services among different populations, including minority groups, rural communities, and underserved areas. Patient Empowerment: Empowering individuals to take an active role in their cardiovascular health through education, shared decision-making with healthcare providers, and access to resources for self-management.

This article is compiled by Nandish Communication. For any query, please contact at +91-9873359807.

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