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Public Health Priorities: What we may have missed in the pandemic; Dr. Wisham

Dr. Mohamed Wisham, Former Advisor to The Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services of Maldives, gives an insight into how these things effect us more than we think in regard to the healthcare systems in place in many countries. Especially in developing countries, domestic abuse and mental health are not as “High Priorities” in the system. More-ever, at times these are conditions in communities and cultures that don’t accept these as medical conditions.

“Mental health being a huge score of diseases that is undermined; with that in mind, have we thought on how unprepared lockdowns can affect people who are scared to go out to visit hospitals when they feel sick? Have we given a thought on medical emergencies that need immediate attention?”

”Many aren’t properly educated on medical emergencies. How many of us can understand how important it is to get a chest pain evaluated? or about severe headaches that persist at times; that come with paralyzing effects can be signs of strokes? or the importance of immediate medical attention that is required for people around you who can be with suicidal thoughts? or How many can say that they would go to a hospital if they have abdominal pain with fever?

To talk about it, we can find many more conditions that we need to educate the people to understand so that they can take actions on time. Delayed actions on these things can be life threatening or can end up with bad outcomes.

“If we look into domestic abuse rates, before the current quarantine measures stood at 1 in 4 women or 1 in 7 men worldwide, we are yet to comprehend the magnitude of these.”

if we look into last week itself, we had the sad news of an 11 old being abused. This is in a very small population. I applaud the reformed Maldives Police Service and the handling of the situation.”

Though the responsible are behind bars, the system we have to attend the victims is overwhelmed already in the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services, even before the COVID19 has reached us.”

As the public health systems are geared to protect the population from one cause, it needs to prepare to address the long list of other diseases and conditions that are aggravating due to the current measures.

Forecasts show that more cases are to come and a vaccine is yet to be released. The positivity of the whole system lies bleak to the population and losses of loved ones, fear and anxiety will last for much longer than COVID19 Itself.

This pandemic has outlined many setbacks the governments and responsible authorities have in terms of healthcare, advocacy and mental health. Long term effects of neglecting these will resonate in the public health sector and we are yet to find-out the outcomes.

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