Another Week Beyond – 2140

Beyond Another Week Beyond, health

Dear friends,

In January last year (AWB -2002), we embarked on a project to train   residents of a public rental neighbourhood to discover the health challenges and aspirations of their community. These residents were to speak with their neighbours and to gather information about the health-related needs of their community. Following which, the findings were to be shared with the community to encourage residents to generate action or programmes to improve their collective health.

 “Let’s talk health!” was a virtual session we conducted twice to share the findings from this endeavour, and it attracted 20 residents. We told participants that 4 in 10 of those interviewed had serious illness and they could use a grant of $3000 administered by the Health Promotion Board to do something about it.

Asthma, heart disease, and diabetes surfaced as the most common illnesses and high on the list were also eczema, migraine, and thyroid disorders. Insomnia and eye problems were also common. These findings seemed to fit with participants’ lived experiences, and they concurred    that their community’s wellbeing was affected by the lack of food, sleep, and the inability to afford medical treatment. As such, they were aware of many in their neighbourhood who complained of stress and depression.

As participants broke into smaller groups to discuss what was presented, one group commented that our health system is definitely better than many others elsewhere but yet sometimes, it is a very unsatisfying experience trying to access treatment. They concluded that maybe there could be a bigger budget to employ more people as they see that “doctors and nurses are very stretched.” Being only human, they will find it hard giving their best to their patients when they are tired.

We were impressed that despite not always having the best experience with the health system, there was much empathy for the people working within it. Hence, the group requested that if the findings were shared with healthcare workers, they would want to be present as they felt that the mutual understanding gained from an honest and respectful dialogue will have some effect on “improving” the system

As for the usage of the $3000 grant, participants suggested community events that would help families prepare healthier meals on a modest budget as well as introduce activities such as yoga or nature walks that reduced stress levels.  These suggestions struck us as pragmatic and sensibly proportionate to the amount of the grant. Importantly, participants seemed to recognise that health is more than medicine and includes their physical, mental, and social wellbeing.

Wishing you good health and peace of mind.



The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it. – Hippocrates