The news that a national initiative aimed at determining the best possible treatment for cancer and tumours will be launched soon in Bahrain (GDN, February 20), is a step in the right direction.
In the old days, patients were sent to other countries for treatment which has incurred huge monetary expenses to the government. However, following the order of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, this practice was reversed and replaced by inviting medical experts to Bahrain to treat patients. This move has paid dividends and reduced government expenses without compromising the quality of medical attention given to patients.
Furthermore, following the directives of the Premier, the government launched a campaign to promote active and healthy lifestyle among people. Bahrain Sports Day which falls on the second Tuesday of every February is assigned for promoting various outdoor sports activities to help people stay active and healthy.
This commitment is believed to be one of its kind in the region, which keeps Bahrain a class apart from the regional countries when it comes to the provision of healthcare services to its people.
In a region dominated by sedentary life and seemingly high rates of diabetes and obesity among the population, sport plays a dominant role in reducing these debilitating physiological abnormalities. It is believed that GCC countries are spending billions of dollars on the treatment of diabetes and obesity annually.
Last week, thousands of people from all walks of life showed up to Bahrain Sports Day activities that took place in and around the country. Bahrain diplomatic missions, including the Permanent Mission at the UN, New York, embassies in Moscow, Cairo, London, Tokyo, Morocco, Riyadh and Turkey among others, have involved their respective staff in sports activities to mark the day.
The Premier’s directive was to allocate half of the working day for sports activities. In reality, however, it took the whole day due to lack of organisation and participants’ failure to respect the appointed timings. When you enter your office, you will find a form on your desk to be filled pertaining to your medical history. Then you proceed to the meeting hall where you will face with healthcare or sports officials who record your weight, height and other measurements. Staff gathering at the assembly line takes another couple of hours. Half of the day’s duty is gone before the activities even start.
On the outdoor activities, some staff members don’t seem to be co-operating and remain glued to their mobile phones and group chatting, which has spoilt the spirit of the campaign.
The other observation was the lack of participation of private medical institutions. There are hundreds of them in Bahrain serving the public with top-notch medical facilities and services but not a single private medical establishment appeared to have taken part in the activities.
Providing first aid and free medical check-ups for participants should have been part of their social responsibilities. The occasion has escaped them; it would have served a good avenue for advertisement. Hope they will think over it next year.
The sports day is an awareness campaign to help us exercise and thus remain active and healthy and should be done on a daily or weekly basis. It is not an annual affair. The message is “get used to continuous exercise, you will remain active, healthy and fit”. By so doing you are helping the government save a fortune it would have spent on treating the likes of diabetes and obesity.