Editorial – October : Observance of a World Day should not be reduced to mere ritual

vinodEditorial : October Edition of Health Spectrum

I am extremely delighted to present the fourth edition of Health Spectrum before you. In the month of October, a plethora of programmes associated with HEALTH were organized.  Notable among these programmes were World Mental Health Day, World Arthritis Day, World Sight Day, World Osteoporosis Day, World Anaesthesiologist Day, World Trauma Day, World Menopause Day, Iodine Deficiency Day, World Obesity Day, World Polio Day, and Cancer Awareness Day. In addition, Back Care Awareness Week, Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week and Mental Health Week were also organised.

Undoubtedly, these World Days play an important role in highlighting various health issues and creating awareness about their solutions and remedies.  However, on several occasions, it appears that these events are being observed only as a ritual.  For the associated institutions and organizations, observing a World Days merely becomes a ritualistic exercise.  However there is nothing wrong with observing World Days, but it is equally imperative to build and sustain awareness campaigns throughout the year for effectively tackling health maladies. This is especially important in our country because there is so much of ignorance and lack of awareness about health related matters that people start believing in hearsay and also become victims of quacks. An appalling reality that stares in our face is the fact that our ignorance and superstition regarding mental illnesses are much more as compared to physical ailments. Our ignorance and superstition regarding mental illnesses can be gauged from the fact that even schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder are considered consequences of bad ‘Karmas’ of the past life or a divine curse. Because of such an appalling and regressive attitude, it becomes difficult to provide adequate treatment to the patients. Forget about the treatment, patients with mental illnesses are even subjected to unspeakable physical torture and are also discriminated against through social ostracization. Even family members treat them in a horrific manner. In our society, a major cause for lack of awareness is also because of the fact that popular mass media, especially visual media, relegate the news related to health to the lowest rung of its priority. Even in newspapers and magazines, the percentage of news related to health is the lowest.

In this backdrop, Health Spectrum and other health magazines have a special responsibility to provide authentic and elaborate information to the people on health matters. Our effort is to provide through the magazine not only authentic and comprehensive information to the people but also to present it in an interesting manner, which is normally not done by the other mass media.

In the October issue, we are publishing special articles on the diseases and remedies related to bones, joints and spine, which have been contributed by noted bones and spine specialists. In addition, information has also been provided on matters like mental health. In the earlier issue, we had published an article by Dr. Kamal Murtaza, titled “Neonatal Screening: Do we Indians really need it?” In this issue, we are publishing an article – “Cord Blood Banking: Do we Indians really need it?” In the subsequent issues also, this column will continue.

Hope the October issue will agitate you, enlighten you, and create awareness too. I hope you will welcome the issue. We will eagerly wait for your suggestions.


– Vinod Kumar


Vinod Kumar

Health Journalist & writer. Editor of monthly health magazine "Health Spectrum."

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