Healthcare beyond hospital walls (4): Safer living spaces

In this blog series my intention has been to take you, my reader through a process of looking at healthcare beyond hospital walls.

A more holistic perspective helps us as individuals to see the various seemingly unrelated things that have profound impact on our individual and collective health status.

You can go read the previous three blogs.

The insights are useful for policy makers and the average individual who wants to be more health and safety conscious.

We looked at Preventive medicine and why the best medicine is to teach people how not to need it.

The second was on our environment and the third was on consuming healthy products which go a long way to influence health.

This week, the emphasis is on safer living spaces. It’s very important that we ensure that wherever we are there are reduced risks of accidents and injuries.

It’s clear that at least 50% of emergency hospital visits are due to accidents and other injuries.

A few classical examples to look at include;

Road trips are supposed to be fun but this is Nigeria, some potholes hit to your soul. Many roads aren’t wide enough or aren’t constructed in ways that mminize accidents.

Aside bad roads which are implicated in many road accidents there are human issues such as overspeeeding drivers, disobedience to basic road rules and vehicles which aren’t roadworthy.

You will agree that ensuring that lives are safer on Nigerian roads should be an important part of our healthcare policy and intervention.

Homes and schools must be built and set up with the intention of reducing the risk of accidents. For example the arrangement of our homes can determine if a child is more likely to reach and consume a substance that is poisonous.

Cooking gas and electric installations must be done to prevent accidents, even the state of the floors can be a factor that determines risk of falls. In high rise buildings the kinds of windows can determine how easy it can be for a child to get through and fall off while playing and this applies to schools as well.

The way a building is designed can also determine how easy it can be to evaluate persons in case of a fire or other emergency. Health inspectors and building permit officials have a huge role in monitoring these.

Places of work
Workplace accidents are also quite common. It must be a deliberate policy to ensure that workplaces are safe and that workers don’t get life threatening injuries while working.

It goes without saying that certain workplaces such as construction sites are more prone to accidents than others but measures must be put in place everywhere to ensure safety.

Availability of protective equipments, fire fighting equipment and other measures to prevent workplace injuries must be enforced via regular checks from government agencies to protect the average worker.

In conclusion, a lot more can be done. As individuals, parents, employers and policy makers we must make better decisions for the general well-being and safety of everyone.

Olusanya Oluwatomi
@Dhealthactivist on twitter