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A healthy debate

Saturday, January 18, 2014
Paolo Kernahan

The Minister of Health, Dr Fuad Khan, this week lobbed a grenade of a remark into the powder magazine that is the public domain and sat back as the opinion bunker detonated in devastating fashion. Tactically speaking, there was value in his statement, but his approach was more radiation therapy rather than surgical intervention. Now that you’ve got a medley of mind-boggling mixed-metaphors to process (and an alarming amount of alliteration) let’s take a closer look at the issue. 


 Dr Khan was blasted for suggesting that abdication of our personal responsibility for good health has inexorably burdened the state. People are too greedy, their romance with fast food and fast livin’ costs the State $5 billion a year. The minister went on to suggest that precious bed space in our health care institutions is cluttered with citizens who consciously make “three-piece” decisions about their lives. It was an impassioned but clearly misguided underestimation of the complexity of the failure of state health care. 


Dr Bratt (a columnist with this newspaper and a neighbour of mine) quite rightly pointed out that blaming our face-stuffin’ people for the hospitals’ woes is unfair. Dr Bratt suggested ways the government can actively promote healthy lifestyles through education campaigns as well as tax incentives for companies importing gym equipment.