In 2006, Bill Gates and many other noted experts predicted the advent of pandemics, but nobody took their warnings seriously. Now, the world population is facing the deadly consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic. It is hard for people to maintain mental wellbeing and it will be even more challenging for young children to handle these uncertain times. More needs to be done to address these challenges. We must also emphasise the importance of recovery of victims who have contracted Covid-19 and ensure that long term side effects are minimised. They have to live with fatigue, breathlessness and other effects of the disease. There is also a psychological element at play which is equally important, if not more. Fear and stress must be replaced by empowerment, confidence and a positive view of the future.
Studies that pointed out some Covid-19 affected adults may suffer from ailments of the kidneys, lungs and heart after recovery. Research also shows the virus can attack the brain and nervous system. Hence, it is important for Covid-19 patients to prioritise the conservation of energy through proper rest. This will aid their recovery. The medical healthcare professionals are the key players here who can provide advice on physical and mental wellbeing whilst the world eagerly awaits for a vaccine.
One of the most important discoveries in nutrition recently has been the discovery of protection afforded vegetables and fruits against, which in turn mitigates the ravages of old age. These include heart disease, strokes and cancer. However, meat should not be excluded as it provides a specific type of iron, known as ‘heme’ iron, which Is not found in vegetables. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, heme iron is better absorbed into the body compared to non-heme iron, which is found in both vegetables and meat. Thus, a moderate amount of meat and plenty of vegetables, fruits and nuts will provide the necessary nutrition for the body. Food that are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, protect against all types of viral diseases. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain all of these.
Physical activity and exercise build up muscles and bones. A life of physical activity and fitness prevents diseases, thus increasing longevity. People with reduced immunity due to poor exercise and diet regimen will be affected the most. Mental activity sharpens the brain by strengthening synaptic connections. Hence, developing interests and training the brain for resilience and positivity, will mitigate mental degeneration, especially during these challenging times brought about by the pandemic.
Bangladesh has been through its challenges during the Liberation War. We know how to survive. The Health Ministry can step up and promote policies that will do exactly that during the pandemic, by promoting good nutrition.
By Barrister Jahanara Imam
(Chairman, Barrister Jahanara Imam Manob Kollan Songtha).Collection-Haji Md. Yusuf.