World Health Day Message
By Minister for Health and Social Development
Honourable Carvin Malone
April 7, 2022
I bring greetings to everyone in the Virgin Islands, the region and the world. I greet you today to lend my voice to propagate a message of health for World Health Day! World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7th to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. This year’s theme is “Our Planet our Health”, and it was chosen to focus global attention on urgent action needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and to foster and create societies focused on well-being.
On this day on the backdrop of a global pandemic, a polluted planet, and increases in chronic diseases we are asked the following questions: are we able to re-imagine a world where clean air, water and food are available to all? Where economies are focused on health and well-being? Where cities are livable and people have control over their health and the health of the planet?
For my message today I want to highlight health and wellness on an individual level and collectively as a society as we forge our way towards a healthier Virgin Islands!
As we continue to encourage health throughout the Territory there are concerns that we must address. Chronic non-communicable diseases continue to account for a significant number of mortalities worldwide and also here in the Territory. There is a significant rise in our childhood obesity rates, the pandemic has exacerbated social health problems like crime, domestic violence and child abuse and I don’t think that I have to remind you that we are currently in an active pandemic. A pandemic that has claimed the lives of millions worldwide and 62 persons locally since it started a little over two years ago. When I sit and analyze the entire situation, being in our best possible state mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially is where we need start to position ourselves to achieving a healthier Virgin Islands.
Mentally- Mental health is important because it affects everything. It affects our ability to cope, adapt, and solve problems. It also affects our ability to be happy, productive, and well adjusted. Poor mental health stops us from reaching our full potential, stifles our abilities, and stunts our growth. To help to improve your mental health try to focus on gratitude, write down things that you are grateful for each day. Look for the ray of light and positivity in every situation. Go to therapy or talk to friends about what is troubling you. Hit the reset button. If you frequently find yourself overwhelmed by life, work on creating a reset routine that can help you take a moment to breathe and relax and return you to a calm balanced state. .
Emotionally we want you to live a life of wholeness, balance, and contentment. Develop the courage to define, and then live, your best life. Develop the ability to learn from and bounce back from setbacks as well as flexibility in facing challenges and see the good in yourself. Develop a healthy self-concept and make time for hobbies and leisure activities.
Earlier I mentioned that the Pandemic has caused an increase in crime, domestic violence and child abuse. I really want us to collectively improve our social health by establishing clear lines of communication, seeking assistance whenever there is a need and by being mindful of your emotions and knowing when to walk away or deescalate a situation.
In terms of our spiritual health, explore your spiritual core. By exploring your spiritual core, you are simply asking yourself questions about the person you are or who you want to be. Look for deeper meanings in your life by analyzing occurring patterns. Try yoga to improve your spiritual wellness by reducing emotional and physical strains on your mind and body.
While every element of health is important I have to place emphasis on physical health. What we do with regards to what we eat, we take care of our bodies and how we manage conflict can contribute to our vulnerability to Chronic non-communicable diseases.
So I want to encourage you to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, reduce your salt and sugar intakes, cut back on the processed foods, reduce alcohol consumption, stop smoking and eat balanced diets filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.
We are still in a pandemic, so don’t forget to continue to adhere to all the public health measures that are put in place to protect you. Reduce your risk of contracting COVID by washing and/or sanitising your hands (~20 seconds), wearing masks properly, physically distancing (>3ft) and covering coughs and sneezes regardless of your vaccination status.
The theme for World Health Day again “Our Planet, Our Health” should serve as a powerful reminder that the Government alone should not be held accountable for the health of the Territory. We all have a responsibility and a role to play. We, the Government will continue to do our part by forging stronger inter-sectorial collaborations, incorporating a whole of Government approach to health, and making laws and legislation that supports our goal of achieving a healthier Virgin Islands. Individually and collectively as a society each and every one of you need to play your part which starts with being the best version of yourself, not only for you, but for your family, community and society on a whole. Help us to reduce crime, help us to reduce childhood obesity, help us to reduce NCDs and help us to create an environment of health and wellbeing where we live, work and play!
As we celebrate World Health Day lend your support by doing an activity that supports positive mental, physical, emotional, spiritual or social health. Let us individually be the change that we want to see from society.
We are forging towards a healthier Virgin Islands one positive change at a time. I am Carvin Malone, Minister for Health and Social Development, thank you for listening…. Blessings!.