My wishes for a healthier new yearBy Veita Bland, M.D. / December 31, 2020
The holidays are a time of hope and renewal. We all have our list of goodies and wishes we would like to have received this year. My main, wish if it would have been possible, would have been for COVID-19 to have gone away. That unfortunately did not happen. More than 325,000 people just in this country have perished because of COVID-19. Because of the unfortunate choices so many people have made to visit family and friends during the holidays, we will be seeing more COVID-19 deaths and sequela I am saddened to say.
My next wish would be to find a way to explain to all people and especially people of color, would be the importance of having a Flu vaccine. It is not too late to get the flu shot.
In that same breath, I would wish for the words to help all understand the great need for the COVID-19 vaccine and the fact that the vaccine is not an experiment but a valuable tool we all need to get to control the pandemic.
My next wish would have been to somehow convince Congress that people need to be able to live a life where their healthcare is a right, not a socioeconomic gift. The grave disparities that have come to light are due to discrepancies in the ability of some segments of our society to afford adequate healthcare. I wish that all members of Congress would understand and commit to alleviating these disparities.
Since I am listing my wishes, I wish for appropriate and decent housing for all Americans. Secure and safe housing plays a huge part in healthcare. Who can worry about their health when they have no place to lay their head?
To that end we must provide a living wage for all people; having a wage that affords you the opportunity to buy nutritious foods because the foods that you eat are so important to the quality of the life that you live. Junk in equates to junk out in the form of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, irritability and heart disease to start.
I wish that all people were able to afford the best medications for their medical problem. So many times, during a day I must fit the medication into a formulary that does not allow me to prescribe the best medications. How much better their course of care could have gone if the best medication could have been prescribed.
We have to deal with COVID-19; I wish I could teach everyone the proper way to wear a mask and explain why it should be that way and encourage hand washing and distancing.
One of my last wishes would be the gift of mental health. So many people are beaten down by the trials of life. This colors their actions, behaviors and their lives. I wish clear thought, the adoption of active measures and practices to promote mental health and the removal of the stigma of needing mental health help.
My last wish would be to find a way for all to start to appreciate the health benefits of physical activity. It is one of those simple lifestyles changes we can make that will yield so much in the long run.
I wish a fabulously happy, healthy New Year to you all. 2021 has my money on being a better year.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.