THE BENEFITS OF PREVENTION AGAINST CURE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF WELLNESS PROGRAMS

Asignificant proportion of the
Namibian population are exposed
to various health related risk
factors due to a lack of:

• interest in wellness programs;
• sufficient consumer education on the benefits
of wellness programs;
• regular medical check-ups; and
• financial support (affordability issues).
The health related risk factors include, but are not
limited to elevated cholesterol levels, high blood
sugar levels and hypertension, which may lead to
heart disease, diabetes or other chronic conditions.
The importance of monitoring your health status
cannot be overemphasised, as it is easier to stop a
medical condition from happening in the first place
than to repair the damage after it has occurred.
What does good health mean?
Good health is actively and purposefully behaving
in ways that leave you stronger, better nourished,
less stressed, and more comfortable in your body
and mind. Good health is more than not being sick.
When you are healthy, you enjoy many benefits.
Good health is a state of wellbeing that requires active
participation on your part.

 

Did You Know?
There are several components to good health,
which include:
• Physical health;

• Mental health;

and

• Spiritual health.

 

Physical Health or physical wellbeing is the one you
likely deliberate on the most. Do you have enough energy
to do the tasks set before you? Do you get enough
rest? Do you eat the right kinds of foods in the right
proportions? Do you feel well? Do you feel fit?
The second component is mental health. If you don’t
have a healthy mental state it will be hard for you to
live your life to the fullest extent. Are you under stress
or are you able to cope with the normal stresses of life?
Do you enjoy life? Are you happy with who you are?
The third component of healthiness is spiritual
health. Whatever your religious beliefs are, do
you feel connected to them? Do you feel at peace?
What does forgiving others do for you? Do you feel
grateful in life? Being at peace, forgiving and being
grateful are all spiritual practices of good health.
This article will focus on physical health. The maintenance
or improvement of health is done via diagnosis,
treatment as well as through the prevention of various
diseases. All of us have a role to play in achieving or
maintaining good health.
Here are some of the things you should do to
become and stay healthy:
• eat a balanced diet and be careful of what goes
into your body;
• get active and stay active;
• keep your weight in a good range;
• get enough sleep;

• find healthy ways to relieve stress;
• spend time with friends and family;
• nurture your spirit;
• take care of your chronic illnesses; and
• develop a relationship with a primary care provider
and become a partner in your own healthcare.
What is a chronic disease or condition?
A chronic condition is a human health condition or
disease that is persistent or otherwise long lasting in
its effects and it usually comes with time. The term
chronic is usually applied when the course of the
disease lasts for more than three months.
Characteristics of a chronic condition
When diagnosed with a chronic condition, we have
to undertake enduring chronic care in order to prolong
our lifespans. These types of medical care are
designed to improve our welfare, from when such a
condition was diagnosed until when such a condition
is cured or in most instances, until when death
occurs. During this period of chronic care, a large
amount of money is often spent on treatment procedures.
Could it be that we have a habit of not paying
attention to the fact that these diseases are largely
preventable through wellness programs?
The treatment of chronic diseases, contribute immensely
to the escalating healthcare costs which
are incurred within the Medical Aid Funds Industry
in Namibia, which in fact further contributes to the
unaffordability of private healthcare. Therefore it is
worth considering Ben Franklin’s words when he
said, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than
a pound of cure”.
According to the Namibian 2012/2013 Health Account
Report published by the Namibian Ministry of
Health and Social Services in June 2015, spending
in the healthcare sector was quite high compared to
that of neighbouring countries with similar levels of
income. Eight countries were analysed and Namibia
was ranked the third highest during the 2012/2013
reporting period, which is why it is important for us
to know the benefits of preventing chronic diseases
against that of curing such diseases in order to reduce
the cost of providing adequate healthcare.
What is a wellness program?
A wellness program is a program that is designed
to help an individual attain and maintain a state of
well-being, especially a state of physical well-being.
These types of programs mainly focus on the promotion
or maintenance of good health rather than
the alteration or treatment of poor health. Wellness
programs are usually offered through the work place
although Medical Aid Funds also offer them directly
to their members. Wellness programs entail preventative
healthcare measures with the aim of having
minimal curative healthcare. While curative healthcare
aims at curing diseases to reduce pain or stress,
preventative healthcare focuses on the early diagnosis
of diseases, the identification of possible risks
of developing specific physical or mental problems
and all necessary interventions to avoid such health
problems as well as the counselling thereof.
As a member of a medical aid fund and depending
on your age, you may have access to preventative
healthcare services at minimal costs. Wellness program
services may include but are not limited to:
• preventative health screenings (regular testing/
screening of blood pressure, blood sugar levels
and cholesterol levels);
• cancer screenings;
• weight loss programs;
• diabetes management programs;
• programs to help you stop smoking; and
• counselling on issues such as the use of alcohol,
smoking, weight loss, healthy eating habits
and depression.
What are the benefits of a wellness program?
An Employer benefits from having healthy employees.
Employees benefit from being healthy and having
the assistance they need to address and maintain
personal wellness. Many employees show weight
reduction and improved physical fitness and stamina
through wellness programs. Reports also show an
increase in the well-being, self-image and self-esteem
of employees, while at the same time resulting
in a decrease in stress levels. Although private medical
care can be quite expensive, the prevention of
diseases can help avoid the high healthcare costs incurred
by medical aid funds. Beyond the concern for
the health of employees, wellness programs make
sense for purely practical reasons. Soon after joining
a wellness program, employers may observe a drop
in absenteeism and sick days. Wellness programs
also reduce the number of work-related injuries and
repetitive strain injuries. A more reliable workforce
will inevitably translate into a smoother work cycle
and a more robust bottom line for the employers.
How can you as an individual stay healthy and
why is it important?
As an individual, you can stay healthy simply by
adapting to various good-health practices. This
would automatically reduce your chances of suffering
from certain chronic diseases, in the short-run
as well as in the long run. If you try by all means
to prevent diseases now through wellness programs,
you’ll thank yourself later. The prevention of diseases
can thus be considered an investment in yourself.
Choose to stay in good health now, or pay a large
sum of money in future to get treatment for possible
chronic diseases.
Good Health Practice
A healthier you, implies less medical expenses for
you. Less medical expenses for you, means less
healthcare claims incurred by your medical aid fund.
Join a wellness program, stay healthy and help reduce
healthcare costs.

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