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The Paradox of why we still use ambulances rather than fences

The Paradox of why we still use ambulances rather than fences

The oft used metaphor of an ambulance at the foot of the cliff rather than a fence at the top to contrast the wisdom of investing in preventive rather than reactive expenditure in health is actually over 100 years old! So why is it still so hard to justify the lower expenditure on prevention compared to a much greater expenditure with a typically worse outcome for the patient when the inevitable happens?

Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney, Australia, explains, noting that "The paradox of prevention is that it succeeds when nothing happens"

He identifies the major problem thus:

"The beneficiaries of prevention are statistical non-victims, not self-identifying individuals whose pain, neglect or imminent death can call attention to their plight.

Everyone in need of health care has a name, and nearly always a family and friends who care deeply about their welfare. But I cannot name a single individual who I know for sure will be a direct beneficiary of a preventive policy that will reap its benefits into the future."

Depressing, isn't it...


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True, we cannot NAME the millions who would benefit from a preventive attitude, but we sure can name the hundreds of Drug Companies who can't wait for us to get sick...


Paradox abounds when our so called advanced societies produce sophisticated multimillion dollar advertising industries to sell us poison i.e. smokes, soda-pop and highly processed foods containing high salt, sugar and fats not to mention pesticides, preservatives and artificial dyes that are touted to make everyone feel good about it and indispensable to a quality life. Having good health from sleeping, exercising and eating well is what really gives us a sense of balance and well being.

Turning the ambulance and fence upside down to serve us better is to take control of the right message in creative ways. The message must be sublimated to youth and integrated into very early learning experiences as a seamless process of living and learning. Better health mental and physical would follow.


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