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Mumbai marks World Health Day

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

From enthusiastic participation in a jumping initiative to foodies receiving salad recipes on WhatsApp, Mumbaikars whole-heartedly participated in World Health Day initiatives

This year, on April 7, when World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrated its 70th anniversary, Mumbaikars organised a range of initiatives to mark the occasion.
While some—like a Health Walk at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali—had to be cancelled because too few turned up,  others, like #JumpForHealth, received a phenomenal response.

Last year, Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co. Ltd (ABHICL) came up with a unique concept, based on an insight from American Journal of Health Promotion that ‘jumping’ could be done anywhere and could strengthen the bones. People were asked to take a video of themselves or with others jumping, upload it on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter with the hashtags #JumpForHealth and #ABCHealthInsurance with the count of jumps, and nominate three others to do the same by tagging them. They linked this to a social cause; for every 10,000 jumps, they would donate one prosthetic leg to the underprivileged. Last year, they donated 200 prosthetic limbs to the Sadhu Vaswani Mission.

In the second edition this year,  in association with the Sadhu Vaswani Mission, the month-long campaign began on April 7 and ABHICL aims to donate 1000
prosthetic legs by achieving 10 million jumps.

The response on the first day was remarkable. In 2017, it took three days to achieve 10 lakh jumps; this year this was achieved in a single day after it went viral—just the day after they announced the initiative, they had already reached the 10 lakh number. Dabbawallas, transgenders, commuters at the Andheri Metro... they all participated. At the Pinkathon in Navi Mumbai, 2.300 saree-clad women, along with Milind Soman, did 100 jumps each and collected 2.30 lakh jumps. The organisation also works with others like Kimberley Shah of Mumbai Road Runners to reach out.

“The #JumpForHealth campaign aims to educate people on the importance of living an active life by making exercise a part of their daily routine,” said Mayank Bathwal, CEO, ABHICL. “It is our endeavour to promote healthy living amongst individuals to lead a successful life and make this a real movement.” Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer - Aditya Birla Capital, added: “In today’s era we live a deskbound lifestyle which increases our chances of suffering from innumerable lifestyle diseases.... We are hoping to create an active generation that takes both health and wealth extremely seriously.”

Another initiative that received huge response was SHARAN’s ‘Salad a Day’ WhatsApp programme. SHARAN is an organisation committed to reversing lifestyle diseases through nutrition and the ‘Salad a Day’ programme had “amazing overwhelming response”, in the words of Auroville-based Dr Nandita Shah, founder of SHARAN.

“One of the best ways to be healthy is to have salads,” she said. “Yet this is something that most people tend to ignore, either because they find them boring, not delicious or something that they haven’t tried before or looked into.”

She also pointed out that since this was on WhatsApp, people were joining in from across the world, to receive a salad recipe daily,  with  instructions and videos. “This is an initiative of Reyna Rupani, who heads SHARAN in Mumbai,” she added, and pointed out that though the programme had just started, they were already receiving photographs of salads that people had made, and they were asking for more such initiatives.

On a larger scale, the issue of health has been a major cause of concern in India, with even basics like access to safe drinking water being a problem. The India Health Report: Nutrition 2015 noted that while India had made major improvements in the previous 10 years, it still struggled to tackle malnutrition. According to the report, around 55 percent of Indian women aged between 15 and 49 had anaemia or low blood cell count, and over 38 percent of children in the country had stunted growth, while 18.6 percent children under three years have low birth weight (under 2.5 kilograms). Only 65.3 percent children of 12 to 23 months had received full immunisation through vaccinations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking onWorld Health Day this year said: "Good health is the foundation of human progress… I welcome the theme ‘Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere’ that has been chosen by WHO and others. It is the quest for Health For All that inspired us to create Ayushman Bharat, the largest healthcare programme in the world.”

One of the flagship programmes of the National Health Policy, 2017, envisions Health andWellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. With an allocation of Rs 1200 crore, it aims at 1.5 lakh centres providing comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services. These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. The contribution of the private sector through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

The second programme is the National Health Protection Scheme, which aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. This is being described as the world’s largest government-funded health care programme.

While presenting the Budget in February, Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, said these two health sector initiatives would build a New India 2022 and ensure enhanced productivity, well-being and avert wage loss and impoverishment, in addition to generating lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.

How effective these programmes prove remains to be seen but there’s no doubt that in our own individual spheres, there is a great deal we can do to ensure not only our own good health, but also those whose lives we touch.

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