text: Elina Alkova , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
According to the historical development of our country the year 2002 had to become the most "healthy" one: drinking little, non-smoking, leading an active way of life. Not for nothing it was originally defined as the Year of Health.
A lot of finance was allocated for health and the events were planned as exclusively health improving. But this year is in the past. And do we have more health in our life? If we believe the annual report, which the National centre for healthy lifestyle problems presented to the Ministry of Health of RoK, the image of health is being carved out every day and every hour! We've got to suppose that soon everybody will see and appreciate it! But we can only dream about how closely it is related to the concrete, physical and mental health of our people…
An attack in all directions
So, to save the nation, they started to study valeology in kindergartens, schools and Universities. Today everybody is terribly proud of that. As if it saved the world from bad diseases. 91.6% of public schools got involved in studying the new subject. 96.3% of pre-school institutions accepted valeology into their programs, and 69.3% of Universities included the subject into their curriculae. But everybody has somehow forgotten that before this valeology there had used to be health improving groups for impaired children and instead of learning how to live correctly from books, the children had had lessons in exercise therapy with a real coach. Afterwards the money appeared to be not enough for coaches, being sufficient for valeology. Really - the knowledge is power, innit?
Let's proceed. Last year the second grade pupils - 15 thousand kids, became a testing ground for the "Procter & Gamble" company. A school curriculum in prevention of stomatological diseases was proposed to the children. They were learning how to wash their teeth. Nobody knows why their parents had been incapable of that. At least this issue remains open and honestly, nobody cares. The promoters of the best toothpaste in the world among the masses read a course of lectures about the contents of their tubes and tooth brushes to the children, carried out a number of charitable actions with the toothpaste distribution - and they believe that they defeated the children's caries!
And for teenagers a lot was done in this Year of Health really. Just one "objection". They have become so ill-informed about good intentions that the majority of youths from 14 and older still don't know that there are so many teenagers consulting rooms open (for girls and boys separately), that those who wish can apply for a free medical massage and even a pool - as a health-improving measure - also for free, but in turn! The girls are received anonimously with respect to the pregnancy issues. For the boys there is a urologist, to whom all the intimate qustions can be addressed. There are consulting rooms for teenagers in all Alma-Ata and Astana clinics.
In 1999 a project was launched in Kazakhstan "Schools promoting health". Today there are 347 "healthy schools" in the Republic. What's it about? It appears that the pedagogic collectives charged themselves with the protection of their pupils from virus infections and acute respiratory diseases. That is, all possible is being done now so that diaseses don't distract children for their studies. There are well-equipped first aid posts in schools. The pupils every day are obliged to drink a lot of herbal cocktails from the morning. In these schools there is exercise therapy for those who are released from physical culture lessons due to impaired health. There are physical culture minutes at the lessons, they prevent the children's spinal curvature there. Teachers together with children massage the health points according to the Su Jok system. Various respiratory gymnastics and relaxation exercise have been adopted. In such schools children don't miss a single lesson even during the worst epidemics of flu.
What's the most surprising in these projects is that the teachers don't earn anything above the State standard despite all their efforts and care. It all is based on sheer enthusiasm!
This is a really healthy idea of the past year - to attract the students from medical Universities to the health improvement of rural population. Last year student brigades were organised that left for villages and worked with people, including families with grave diseases. More than 900 students saw a chance of joining such a brigade and check their knowledge in praxis. We shouldn't even mention the reaction of small village inhabitants. 180 thousand people were pleased to pass through the medical students examinations. It was nearly the manna from heaven for them. Villages - God forsaken, had not seen any medical treatment for ages.
Kazakhstani youth encouraged by the National centre for health improvement problems all the last year tried to fight drugs, smoking and hypodynamia. But it failed.
As a rule, the actions appeared to be big parties for youth was prepared, with a show of some local or foreign celebrity. According to the action's designs the star had to casually publicise his/her healthy habits and a proper hate towards disgusting vice. Honestly, the vast majority of the audience did not give a heck about it, including his/her choice and health. The coefficient of usefulness from such actions equalled zero. How much money was spent - the centre's reports keep quiet about it. The centre's specialists themselves admit that it might be due to the organisation of such events from the purely medical points of view. All the centre's workers are in fact good doctors, with scientific degrees.
However to introduce necessary knowledge on the healthy way of life to the modern youth, especially from the risk group, not a medical approach is needed - but pedagogical and psychological. Nobody knows about it in the medical centre. That's why all those well-organised actions are so formal and useless.
But even with the virtual uselessness of such actions the centre's work had its weight all the same. In particular, aspiring to win over smoking in 2002, it carried out a vast national research on smokers. And now the whole country knows that the third part of Kazakhstani population - smokes. And 46 % of them are wishing to get rid of the smoker's habit, only they don't know how. By the way, the anti-tobacco centres organised around the town - are as fictitious as the actions propagating health. In Almaty student clinic the anti-tobacco centre is an office, where the students do medical exercise. In another office there are pamphlets and booklets on the shelves, having, one might thing, a killing or miraculous power. When you read them you quit smoking momentarily - it seems that the doctors, enthusiastically talking about special diets for those wishing to quit smoking and about the statistics on those who died from cancer, count on that. A sheer euphoria. True, there is a psychologist in the centre, who receives 18 students, wishing to get advise on the nasty habit, per year. But whether they kicked smoking after the consultations or not is unknown - nobody in the student clinic knows that, because the people don't come for the second time.
The bicycle enters history
It seems that out of so many absolutely futile "unhealthy" beginnings, with which the last year of health was so rich - one thing can be picked out. It will remain important in the future for sure and our offspring will be grateful for it. In Almaty a preparation of the project of bicycle zones organisation in each of the six districts of the city has been started. The district akims must find impasses on their terrtories, which covered with asphalt, in prospect can be organised as family recreation parks. The main feature of rest in those parks will be the usage of bicycles.
Actually, according to the approved health programme, the city already must have those bicycle tracks, the city dwellers active rest and so on…
The dates have been registered, financial authorities - mentioned, the responsibles appointed. But, it would be too simple - to follow the project terms up to the point! It's impossible, even if it is the year of health. Therefore it happens as always: the city doesn't have money necessary for this good initiative. Although… bicycle parks will be there, sure they will - as the national centre branch employees assure - that is the municipal centre for health improvement problems. When? A bit later.
Among the centre's accomplishments, according to the report, there are conferences, round tables, briefings, competitions, of which there were too many, published encyclopediae, a competition among journalists writing about health. But if you go out to the street and ask anybody - what is health - the chap won't know what to say. And then it will appear that for everyone this notion is filled with personal meanings. As a result, studying the basic moments, like: thou shalt not drink, smoke, thou shalt use condoms, jog more, not snore - it's too trivial, to seriously expect some positive results from this propaganda of banalities. Psychologists prove that a man drinks a lot not because he got hooked on the vice. It is because he cannot resolve some problem in another manner. That's also the reason why women get on weight, and children get addicted to drugs. It is their mode of survival. The healthy way of life, proposed to people by the centre, somehow "doesn't fit" them. Why? Maybe because the centre stakes on losing things in advance. Say, someone really thinks that an external advertisement (such as pamphlets on smoking in the anti-tobacco centres) also omproves people's health. The centre specialists maintain that the population is ill-informed about health, people lack elementary knowledge. That's where the centre priorities stem from: ads, booklets, brochures for parents, encyclopaediae, billboards. There was an astonishing fact in the life of the municipal centre for the health improvment problems! At last all of a sudden Almaty people wished to become healthy, they appealed for help in organising mass exercise in one of the parks in the morning. A little was needed for that - asphlating the park tracks, push aside a pub and a cafe. The centre supported the people morally, but then its authorities, as an ideologist of new healthy values for the society finished. A bitter fact. That's why one gets a feel that all events carried out by the existing so called "health improving" centres - have got one purpose only - collect as many peope as possible, brainwash the masses with healthy ideology and report how the superstructure successfully establishes the basis of our life. The centre's report on the last year is filled with figures and facts - so many people took courses, attended to the lectures, jogged on the streets and so on and so forth. How many of them have become really healthy and how this health is to be measured - the report doesn't say. It seems that nobody knows it.
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09.01.2013 2012 marked by multiple events in Kazakhstan