Every April 7th is #WorldHealthDay. In 2022, the theme of the Global Health Day is ‘Our Planet, Our Health‘. This year, WHO is focusing on global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
World Health Day is observed every year on April 7 to raise awareness about the importance of health and to mark the widespread contributions of our medical faculty. According to World Health Organization (WHO), health is fundamental to human happiness and well-being. It contributes to economic advancement because healthy people live longer and are more productive.
In the midst of a pandemic, a polluted planet, increasing diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, on World Health Day 2022, WHO will focus global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes. This includes the climate crises which is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. The climate crises is a health crises.
In view of the global health crises, it behoves on us to pay particular attention to our health and deliberately engage in activities that help to preserve the environment and foster a global well-being.
When we focus too much on ourselves, we worsen our predicaments , and may sink deeper into despair. As humans, we all struggle with self-centeredness and selfishness. We tend to be selfish because all we can see is our own pains and pleasures, and most often we do not notice the pains of others.
We further sink into discontentment when our hearts are only concerned with our own pleasures. Whereas, we enjoy happiness and fulfillment when we notice and meet the needs of those who are desperate for help. One major source of happiness is taking our eyes off ourselves and our own desires, and focus on meeting the needs of others – the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless, the afflicted, the sick and helpless.
The submission of Danny Thomas is instructive: “Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplished for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” Still thinking about how to help? Look deeply within yourself and you will be amazed that there’s something you truly care about and would be your greatest pleasure if you get involved.
Some YWAW Volunteers at Old People’s Home in Lagos
40% of our happiness is determined by intentional activities, behaviour and practices that we voluntarily pursue, such as helping others, adopting positive attitude, exercise or striving for goals. Helping others is the secret sauce to happiness.
There are a number of voluntary causes that you can engage in that would put you on a platform to be of help to others in your little way. You can get involved in helping sex trafficking victims, the elderly who have no one to care for them, little kids who need help learning to read – there’s always something you can do.
You can also volunteer for a non-governmental organization who carry out humanitarian, social services or advocacy and join to serve the needs of others, The Yes, We Are Winning Foundation (YWAW) is an example of a charity and human capital development NGO that focuses on helping people especially in the area of education and empowerment.
We provide a platform for those who have passion to impact the world positively and be life savers while they also inculcate a winning lifestyles. You can volunteer with us today through this link. https://yeswearewinning.com/become-a-volunteer/
When you have made a choice of a service to render, then, commit to serve once or twice, and see how you feel. If you liked it, get involved in their their causes and give your service to humanity. “Non Sibi Sed Alis”; “Not for us but for others” Your becoming a well watered garden often comes because you feel good helping another human being. God has a way of rewarding your selfless sacrifice with healing and satisfaction that will surpass your expectations.
Every year on March 20, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Happiness. With our planet experiencing unprecedented challenges, it is more important than ever to be happy.
The purpose of the International Day of Happiness is to raise awareness on the value of happiness in one’s life and the overall impact it can have on a person’s well-being.
Indeed, the alarming global crises, pandemic, political tensions, economic hardships and are enough to keep us in a state of melancholy. The economy and people’s livelihoods have been severely harmed. This means that in many regions, happiness is at an all-time low. However, it will do us a huge benefit if we cultivate and commit to being happy.
“Build Back Happier” is the theme for 2022, and is aimed at achieving global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and friends have been unable to be together for long periods of time due to lockdowns and pandemic-related norms.
Where do happiness come from?
Happiness can come from the good things of life, as well as pleasurable activities such as philanthropic works. However, the happiness that pleasurable activities gives is ephemeral, whereas the pleasure that philanthropic activities gives lasts longer because it gives intrinsic motivation, which is a motivation that its driven by internal rewards, and which gives a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment.
Facts about happiness
50% of your happiness is genetically determined
40% of your happiness is determined by intentional activities, behaviour and practices that we voluntarily pursue, such as helping others, adopting positive attitude, exercise or striving for goals.
10% of your happiness is determined by life’s circumstances, for example material wealth, marriage, employment status, income and possessions to mention a few
Benefits of being happy
Happy people are less likely to fall sick or suffer debilitating diseases.
Happy people have better social relationships
Happy people live longer
Happy people are better organisational citizens
How to cultivate happiness
Be intentional; treat happiness like your routine exercise
Commit to happiness
Work on being happy
In this life, there will always be trouble. When you worry you make your trouble double.
“If you don’t stick to your values when they are being tested, they’re not values, they’re hobbies.” Job Stewart. The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. The story of Alexandra Eiffel is didactic.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks on the planet. Built as the grand entrance to an 1889 world trade fair, the tower receives thousands of visitors every year and is a favorite spot for romantic rendezvous.
We, the writers, painters, sculptors, architects and lovers of the beauty of Paris, do protest with all our vigor and all our indignation, in the name of French taste and endangered French art and history, against the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower.
But when it was built there was ferocious opposition. A group of leading artists and writers, including the author of “The Three Musketeers”, Alexander Dumays, filed a petition that read:
History vindicated Alexandre Eiffel. In 1889 he was roundly condemned. Today he is praised. His story shows us that what matters is not the opinions others have of us and what we do – these will change according to what is culturally fashionable – but holding onto what we believe to be the values and wisdom of God.
“My father taught my siblings and me the importance of positive values and a strong ethical compass. He showed us how to be resilient, how to deal with challenges, and how to strive for excellence in all that we do. He taught us that there’s nothing that we cannot accomplish if we marry vision and passion with an enduring work ethic.” Ivanka Trump.
Inculcate the right moral values and stay on the right part no matter what challenges you. Winning means you’re willing to go longer, and give more than anyone else. You can cross the hurdles if you put set your mind on the goals. Yes, you’re winning!
It may interest you to know that an estimated 2 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean are living with obstetric fistula. This injury which is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder caused by prolonged obstructed labor, occur among women living in poverty in cultures where a woman’s status and self-esteem may depend almost entirely on her marriage and ability to bear children.
Some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases of obstetric fistula develop worldwide each year, and this is responsible for why some women have insufficient voluntary control over of urine or feces or both. A woman with fistula is too often rejected by her husband and pushed out of her village due to her foul smell.
Causes and symptoms of Obstetric Fistula
For women with obstructed labor, labor that goes unattended, the labor can last up to six or seven days. The labor produces contractions that push the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvic bone. The soft tissues between the baby’s head and the pelvic bone are compressed and do not receive adequate blood flow.
The lack of blood flow causes this delicate tissue to die, and where it dies holes are created between the laboring mother’s bladder and vagina and/or between the rectum and vagina. This is what produces incontinence in a fistula patient.
Obstetric fistula symptoms generally manifest in the early post-par tum period. However, other, equally severe symptoms such as psychological trauma, deteriorating health, increasing poverty, and social stigmatization by family and friends can and often do occur.
I know only few people have heard of the disease called obstetric fistula; it’s not as popular talked about like STDs, kidney problems and many other sicknesses we have in the world today. But trust me, many women are suffering from this disease.
The Sad Story of Alero
I have a story to tell; my name is Alero. I am from the Southern region of Nigeria, in West Africa. I am a poor orphan, and my sister and I lived with my aunt in a small village. I lost my first child at the age of 11. I wish I never had to tell you my story, but this is how it happened.
It was a cold night; I wish I didn’t refuse Tina’s offer to walk me down to the stream. I remember that conversation clearly. “Alero, it’s too late for you to go alone to the stream”, Tina warned. “It’s the same stream I visit frequently at night. So, what’s the fuss?” I retorted, and dashed away confidently. Actually, I wished I didn’t even go to the stream like my sister advised; but “Aunty would need water to bath this night and tomorrow morning before she goes to the market.” I had protested.
Alas! I was raped! What a tragedy!? I was miserable and hated every other Thursdays beginning from that fateful day. Few weeks later I was pregnant! Let me save you the story of the shame and reproach experienced from my family, and community, and of course my school. Everybody neglected, not even my aunt was there for me. Fortunately, the idiot who raped me owned up to his dastardly act and accepted responsibilities and performed the marriage rights in the most unsung way.
Pascal was 28 years old when he visited his uncle in the village after his National Youth Service program. He had only spent 3 weeks in the community when he raped me. Whilst living together in a rented apartment in the city, he never related with me like a wife (I guess he wasn’t ready for that). Occasionally, he would remind me that I’m indebted to him because he saved my family and I from public disgrace by accepting to marry me.
Few months later; I was due, but Pascal had traveled outside the state on official assignment. I was alone in the house for days, no body to help, and my closest neighbor were not home at the time. The closest person I could reach on the phone was 10 km away, and by the time Prisca arrived I had gone into labor, and this got worst at the community health center. I labored for 3 days. It was a painful experience especially for me as a young girl. Unfortunately, I lost my child. Life was unbearable afterwards, and I wished I died.
One day I woke up and realized I had pee on my bed; how did this happen? I questioned. I quickly used clothes to damp the bed but the deed had been done; it had spread to Pascal’s side of the bed. This was the beginning of my incontinence and other related issues. And due to the frequency of my discharge, Pascal began to sleep in the living room; friends stopped visiting, and Pascal would abscond for days, and then days became months.
I was later to find out that Pascal moved into a new apartment with another lady who at the time of my visit was already pregnant. I confronted the lady and we had a very tough confrontation that almost generated into a fight. On that day, I was pressed and needed to use the rest room, but I couldn’t ask her permission to do so, and so I left angered. To my amazement, I messed up myself right on the road. I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself, and I was determined to commit suicide.
Just while I wished the ground had swallowed me up, a young man in his early thirties came close to me and offered to help. “Hi, my name is Fred and I live down the road. Do you mind following me home to clean up yourself? He pleaded. At that point, I had no choice than to oblige him. “What could be more than death since I had even decided to commit suicide,” I thought.
For a very long time, I had not felt the kind of love and care that Fred gave me in his house. We got talking and hung out few weeks later. Meeting Fred was the turning point of my life. Fred was a medical practitioner, he was the one that made me realize that I was suffering from Obstetric Fistula, and not that I was cursed,
My own obstetric fistula started because I was in labor for days unattended to. I had thought it was an attack from my enemies so I didn’t bother to seek medical help, except for occasional visits to traditional healers. With the help of Fred, I was treated and now I am completely healed of my disease.
Today I’m married to Dr. Fred and we have a set of twins. As for Pascal, he lost his wife and he’s a single father of two. I do not hold anything against him, he was a good man to me, he only proved that he did’t love me in the first place.
I survived my ailment because I found help; many women all over the world die of this ailment either as a result of ignorance, lack of adequate help, poverty or neglect. Save a pregnant mother today by giving them all medical attention they need during labor. We can end Obstetric Fistula today in our society. We can end child marriage. It begins with you!
Growing up, I had on several occasions wished I belonged to a certain family, and not mine. At certain times I had wished I belong to the family of my friend whose parents were rich, and they all live together a happy family. I had wished I had a caring father like my classmate whose school fees were paid on time, and who never had to engage in street hawking before being able to pay their school fees.
Trust me, as a child; I was for a very long time ashamed of my family because I felt I deserved a better one. It was much later that I began to see that the only reason my mother went through all the hardship and indebtedness was for our well-being. Her sacrifices and hard work was the foundation of our well being. I realized I couldn’t have a lovelier, caring and prayerful mother. My family is certainly irreplaceable!
What is family to you? Family is everything to some people, and to another majority, its nothing; just a medium through which we came into this world. Whichever school of thought you belong to, family is always important.
Family is the smallest unit of every society. God’s intention for creating man and woman was to raise a family that would occupy the earth. God commissioned man to multiply, replenish, cover the earth and dominate. And for animals, he made them male and female for the same purpose of reproduction.
Every man born into this world was a product of a relationship between a man and a woman (that is, a parent). A person may also become a member of a family by adoption, howbeit; he or she must first be born by the union of a man and a woman. Thus, the union between same sex cannot reproduce a biological offspring, as this is a perversion of God’s purpose for man.
Family performs different functions ranging from individual to society. Some of these functions include; meeting the basic needs of dependents; creating a sense of belonging for the family members through affections and care; training the children in acceptable way and inculcating morals and virtues necessary for a healthy society. A family also offer support for one another in many different ways.
The family becomes a community, and the communities make a great nation. The kind of society we have is a reflection of the kind of families that makes up such societies. Children get to learn values in the family; they learn to work together as a team; thereby building teamwork capacity from a young age. Family also functions as a bulwark against crime.
Literally, if we all had a choice of choosing our families; some marriages would be fruitless (barren forever) and some countries would be deserted forever too. In fact, imagine you reading this article had a choice of a country; would you have picked a your domicile of origin? OK, lets hold the country thought for a moment, would you have picked your father and mother to be your parents?
A family on the Bike
Sometimes, we regret belonging to our families and you wished you were never born into the country of your origin. Trust me, God wouldn’t have placed you in a better country. God strategically and divinely placed you here for a purpose, and so your family is irreplaceable!
Your background is not a reason for you to remain on the ground. Chogyam Trungpa puts it this way, “We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.”
As we commemorate the International Day of Families, remember; if life gives you lemon, make a lemonade out of it! Enjoy this family you’ve got, those ones you’re envying are probably wishing they had a family like yours. What you have is precious; celebrate your family! Happy World Family Day.
For more on the International Day of Families is observed every May 15. According to the UN website, the annual observance of the International Day of Families reflects the importance the international community attaches to families and their role in development. Recent commemorations of the Day focused on the role of families for the achievement of SDGs 1 – 5 and SDG 16. The Theme for this year’s celebration is: “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG13.” For more on this event, click: https://www.un.org/development/desa/family/international-day-of-families/2019-2.html