World Family Doctor Day 2021

THE GLEANER, WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 2021 | | E6 WORLD FAMILY DOCTOR DAY FEATURE When we graduated med school, we never dreamt we’d see, A day such as this, a pandemic o’er air, o’er land and sea. It engulfs the entire globe, it smites man, woman and child, Some are not lucky, but others have no symptoms, many only mild. It frightens our leaders, before it several fall, It has no respect for our elders, it kills them most of all. It strikes entire nations, across all social classes, It’s enthralled by ‘social gatherings’, the multitudes, the masses. The only thing predictable, about this pandemic you see, Is that it’s unpredictable, enigmatic, you must agree. It devastates economies, and halts progress in its tracks. It sets back social development, the poor fall through the cracks. As for our public health system, it’s buckling under the strain, Overcrowded, underequipped, understaffed, malfunctioning in the main. It’s happening across the planet, healthcare in dire jeopardy, Even in places where it’s socialised, even where it’s free. And in these times of trials, in these times of distress for all, The Family Doctor remains solid, the Family Doctor stands tall. We’ve always been there for others, through the good times and the bad, We’ve always served our people, whether they are happy or very sad. The Family Doctors are the stalwarts, bulwarks in this horrible time, We are the ones they all depend on, and as usual, we shall shine. Though some colleagues have been stricken, and some have even died. We persevere in the battle, with our patients, side by side. We won’t abandon our calling, our patients we will not fail, We sacrifice to be there for the sick, the suffering, the frail. And when this plague shall have gone, when it has retreated, The Family Doctor will still be here, we shall not be defeated. GARTH A. RATTRAY Family Physician Pandemic INTELLIGENT NATURE offers human civilisation its ecosystem services for our health and well-being if we humans live in harmony with it: (1) Provisioning services: food, fresh water, wood and fibre, fuel, medicines and new chemical compounds. (2) Regulating services: climate regulation, flood regulation, disease regulation, water regulation, air quality regulation, pollination services, erosion prevention. (3) Cultural services: aesthetic, recreational, cultural, spiritual. (4) Supporting services or habitat services: habitat maintenance, genetic diversity, soil formation, photosynthesis or primary productivity. Each country should regard these services as assets when working out its gross domestic product. These natural ecosystem assets are priceless. The escalation of human pressure on the global environment via political, economic and social activities has caused environmental changes and ecosystem impairment. The consequential health effects include flooding, heatwaves, the non-communicable diseases, mosquito-borne diseases, and pandemics. We have a sick planet: (1) Through failure to account for long-term human and environmental consequences of human progress. (2) Through underfunding of research. (3) Through governance challenges – delayed environmental action by governing bodies determined by unwillingness, uncertainty, or non-cooperation. Urgent and transformative actions are needed by all to reduce our impact on the climate, change of land use, biodiversity and chemical pollution of land and water, so as to protect present and future generations, especially for us who live in small island states. We need urgent implementation of laws that protect nature’s ecosystems. Also, we need to follow the protocol issued by the Ministry Of Health andWellness if we plan to keep each other alive. This pandemic has illustrated how intertwined our existence is with each other and with nature. To learn more about planetary health, the World Organization of Family Doctors is inviting primary care providers and other interested persons to enrol in its free online course on planetary health. Together we can build back our planet better by being kind to it and to each other. DR ALDYTH BUCKLAND Family Physician and Past President of CCFP-J PLANETARY HEALTH Protect nature to protect ourselves