THIS year's World Health Day (April 7) takes on a totally different meaning altogether with humankind facing an existential threat from a pandemic.
In many parts of the world, healthcare systems are stretched to breaking point, if not already collapsed. Universal healthcare is being laid bare and giving way tragically to catastrophe medicine.
Being healthy means a fighting chance of survival for many, yet it is acutely juxtaposed with very real bread and butter issues for all; and for some, bizarrely, mere toilet paper.
Money, materialism and economic growth mean nothing when health is relegated to the sidelines. Instead of erecting towers, big buildings and monuments, we should have invested in our healthcare system.
Spending on healthcare is paramount. Of equal importance is a robust public health service and wise farsighted investment in biomedical research and development.
With the world reshaped, we can look again into the many aspects of our life. “New normal" might be a catchphrase for some but an unfathomable reality for many. Wants and needs are dichotomised. Priorities are being reset.
When this pandemic ends, and yes it will, everything we know, think and feel about this life will never be the same. How we relate with each other and Mother Nature will be different. Life has changed.
It is a humbling experience writing from the front line where our survival instincts are strongest and kindness knows no boundaries. But it also reminds us that health, sickness and death are inescapable facts of life.
Sombre, but we are staying on and shall go through this together. (And we know it is going to be okay.)
LETTER FROM THE FRONT LINE
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