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Health and wellness Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by emmanuel Enow, Cameroon Jun 3, 2010
Health , Food , Diseases   Experiences


How have you had to deal with illness- physical, mental and spiritual?
Illness is something nobody likes. When I was young and I got a cold, if I wanted to sleep or asked for drugs, my dad would tell me that I had to fight it: “Don’t give in to fever like it will defeat you. Only week people are defeated by fever.” This is an experience I have grown up with. As a result, I hardly take the common cold or fever as something serious. Rather, I do every thing normally until the fever disappears unnoticed. For illnesses like headaches, hardly have I taken drugs. I take a good sleep or apply ice behind my neck and it cools off. For spiritual illnesses, I have strong belief and I read my bible.

How are communities affected by illness?
In communities, especially those rural communities that fight most against disease, organizing the community works to keep the village clean. Unfortunately, there are those that are still badly affected by illness. This is because of poverty: they are not able to afford balanced diets or, due to the lack of education, don’t really know how to balance their diets to prevent certain illnesses or treat them.

Communities are often badly affected by illnesses and the people often cannot go to hospital for treatment. This has led to the communities’ suffering. They lose loved ones, children become orphans and underdevelopment, hunger and famine become common since they can no longer produce sufficient and nutritious food to eat.

How does your lifestyle, including your diet, occupation and level of activity, impact your health?
Occupation and activities affect the eating habits of an individual. The more occupied you are, the less you eat. Some occupations, which include forestry or adventures, often leave one little time for interest in food. Personally, my occupation has led me to eat less than before. Working under pressure with several tasks, I take more coffee than usual and may eat a few biscuits. After work in the evening I take a heavy balanced meal. But early in the morning I don’t take breakfast because I don’t have the time. When I have to leave the office to visit a friend or to give a helping hand to someone, I risk not taking supper because I get home tired and fall asleep almost immediately.

When is prevention possible?
Prevention is possible earlier. If you live alone, it is best to have someone help you to prepare food. Most often people don’t eat well because they don’t have time to prepare the food. Living with somebody and eating together helps one get used to eating regular meals. Adopting the bad eating habits for a long time makes it difficult to adjust, but with a good counselor it can be done.

How can harm reduction help to improve health standards?
Reducing harm is like reducing pathogens and reducing the risk of falling sick, for example killing the mosquitoes that spread malaria. Checking that the food you eat has not expired will help to prevent some diseases. Getting one’s food steamed before eating it helps to kill bacteria and germs that can cause stomach pain.

What about priorities of health? Consider how different cultures and nationalities think about health and prioritize health issues.
In my community there is a saying that a black man does not die of dirt. This influences the quality of food that people eat. They are surely affected by disease when they eat dirty food. In most regions of Cameroon, the last thing many people will think of is their health till they fall sick. In an indebted country, people’s biggest priority is to find a little food to live on. They will not necessarily care too deeply about what they are eating but will concentrate to fill their stomachs. In Western countries where people are more educated and have the money, they give more priority to what they eat and how they eat and watch their health closely.

Nonetheless, the poor African communities have more fruits and vegetables that are good for health. In Western communities, canned food seems more popular, but it can be significantly more dangerous to the health. Health can be prioritized where the means exist. If African society is well educated on the importance of food, this will result in the prevention of several illnesses.



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Writer Profile
emmanuel Enow

Arrey Emmanuel Enow is a Cameroonian and resident in Yaounde. He is the Assistant Manager of the Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA). He is a writer and writes on diverse issues, both fictional and non-fictional.
He is the delegate in charge of education of 3A Chantal Biya Foundation, SG. Action for Citizen and Community Development and a human rights activist. He has a dream of influencing democracy, empowering communities and healing the world through writing.
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