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WISH Blog

Public Health in Your Life, My Thank You to Public Health

By M. Walid Qoronfleh, PhD, MBA, Director of Research and Policy, WISH



As an American, I am accustomed to celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving Day, which is a National USA holiday celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. The holiday reminds us to be thankful to the people and things in our lives. And, as a practicing Muslim, there are several verses in the Qur’an that alludes to the concept of being grateful (thankfulness) and which reminds us to be Thankful “Shukr” (gratitude). Equally so, the Sunnah and teachings of our beloved Prophet (PBUH).

Have you given thanks to Public Health in your daily life?

Covid-19 Public Health Crisis

In times of public health emergencies / pandemic public health is often in the lime light. Covid-19, is a defining global health challenge. At the time of this blog, global cases of coronavirus have surpassed 400,000 and fatalities exceeded 18,000. The outbreak is reshaping governments and public perceptions. Since governments have implemented drastic measures to stop the spread of the virus, while citizens have been forced to adapt to a new reality of limited movement, restricted access, and closing borders.

The crisis management reaction of Public Health has been phenomenal. The WHO and numerous public health organizations inside or outside Qatar moved to mobilize funding for prevention, response, and recovery efforts, in anticipation of its wide impact and perhaps more disturbance to the health systems. Moreover, entities issuing guidelines and fighting unsubstantiated facts or myths to help people protect themselves and loved ones against the spread of Covid-19.

A new nomenclature entered our lexicon ‘social distancing’. Moreover, good hygiene strategies have been successfully applied to limit viral spread. Public Health: precaution not tyranny, evidence over hysteria. I personally believe this epidemic will be blunted with the continued healthcare measures that are effective and sustainable. First and foremost, we need to buy some time to permit scientific evidence-based research to deliver solutions from diagnostics to developing drugs, antibodies, and vaccines. From my perspective, I think the mobilization by the scientific community and the banding together of public-private partnerships have been amazing. The imperative is to stay the course.

So, Public Health is not only at times of crisis! Public Health plays a significant role in many aspects of our daily life.

My Thanks to Public Health!

Here is a public health day for you.

It is early morning and time for prayer. I wake up and take my first deep breath of fresh, clean air. Thank You, Public Health, for Air Control Quality.

It is the start of my day. I am doing my morning routine.

exercise time – performing my daily moderate physical actions. Thank you, Public Health for the knowledge that regular physical activity reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and improves our quality of life.

breakfast time – eating my cereal with fruits and nuts, and sipping a glass of water with freshly squeezed orange juice. Thank you, Public Health, for ensuring Water Quality measures and Food Safety procedures.

It is time to get to work. Recently, I started to take the Rail to Education City. Thank you, Public Health, for supporting Public Transportation. Just another way to minimize air pollution.

At work, I am grateful for the buildings to work on my research, the libraries to study and write my textbook, the classrooms where I can teach my students and the offices where I interact with my colleagues to make a difference in healthcare. Thank you, Public Health, for establishing and enforcing numerous work Health, Safety, Security & Environment policies.

Winter, surely it is Flu Season! Summer is also coming, watch out for heat exposure. Thank you, Public Health for various policies and recommendations; for providing vaccines to our communities and for informing us about heat exhaustion.

I am grateful for the sidewalks in my community to walk on, while I look around my peaceful environment. Thank you, Public Health for promoting wellness and safety.

As I retreat back to home in AlMessila, I reflect back on my day and give thanks to many people and things that have crossed my path and continue so every day. Thank you, Public Health, for protecting the health and lives of our population in Qatar and globally.

Public Health is an unseen force, which protects and serves us in so many ways that we often take it for granted. Public Health is like a superhero in disguise. It never asks for awards, riches, or acknowledgement. Today, I thank you, and those who work in public health, public services, or any related organizations.

Your actions make Public Health possible. Be responsible!

What is more, I am most grateful at WISH to be a part of “Our Public Health Effort“.

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2020

Unheeded Warnings Mitigating the Impact of Climate Change on Communicable Diseases

Jeremy Hess, Rachel Lowe, Muna Al Maslamani, Laura-Lee Boodram, Anna Stewart Ibarra, Judith Wasserheit

With the emergent threat of COVID-19, this report focuses on threatening diseases that are a by-product of climate change and what type of policy measures should be intact to deal with this head-on.