Last month, a violent earthquake/tsunami/volcano struck Japan. A
consequence of the onslaught of this natural triumvirate was the
technical malfunction of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor. Nearby
residents, and those of neighbouring cities and countries, were, and
continue to be, worried about dangerous fallout.
Last month, a violent earthquake/tsunami/volcano struck Japan. A consequence of the onslaught of this natural triumvirate was the technical malfunction of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor. Nearby residents, and those of neighbouring cities and countries, were, and continue to be, worried about dangerous fallout. We followed the situation not just through the conventional
media, but via various modern messaging portals and, as such, we witnessed many details surrounding this story.
For instance, even though authorities announced radiation levels from the reactor were not high enough to warrant panic, people were not convinced; a mistrust that led them to try and gain control of the situation for themselves. Citizens purchased meters and protective gear and stockpiled pharmaceutical iodine, even taking it, to the dismay of authorities, in dangerous quantities. Many wished to distance themselves completely from potential danger and left the area. Nearby Russians cited vodka and wine as valid ways to boost immunity against radiation, a preventive measure that apparently was put forward after the Chernobyl reactor wreaked havoc in the 1980s.
As health care workers, we can take a lesson from these responses to the health threats facing the Japanese people; giving rise to fear for their own future health, and that of their children. They are a harbinger of a shift in public health promotion strategy: folks are leaning toward pursuing prevention rather than waiting for illness and disease to occur. But, they also demonstrate that education regarding effective prevention is lacking.
The desire to practise prevention – a fundamental component of the chiropractic paradigm – requires foreknowledge of the implications of not doing so. In our day and age, we are quite rich in this foreknowledge. We know that smoking or not exercising can result in dire health consequences; we know that if we do not eat properly, we may add to the chronic illness statistics; we have discovered that many attempts at improving our lives can, instead, lead to deadly environmental sequellae. Through media and the various messaging strategies of our day, the public now knows much about what threatens us, and seems ready for the idea that it is within our power to avoid some, if not most, of these problems. However, good, solid direction regarding prevention that is safe and effective is required.
The media and Internet messaging venues alluded to above are among the most powerful tools of our times – even remote areas have access to them, to some extent. It is no longer so difficult to reach out to millions. Therefore, messaging on prevention can be presented effectively and easily by almost anyone – including those in the chiropractic community. Furthermore, a message can be punctuated by crediting its source – for instance, your provincial chiropractic association – to remind folks that DCs are knowledgeable and caring enough to educate the public in prevention of injury and illness.
DCs are in a position to harness people’s desire to prevent personal and widespread health crisis situations, and to teach them solid strategies for doing so. The time is ripe for it and the opportunities and technology for doing so abound. Can you, and your profession, afford not to become leaders in this? Can the public you have committed to serve afford your silence?
We continue to pray for the Japanese people and praise them for their courage and perseverance at this time. •
Bien à vous,
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