Global Health as The Modern Day Quest Continues (Part 3)

The feeling in the air at the latter end of April seems a bit different, a bit calmer. The new norm has just started to feel, well, normal. The panic buying has improved as supply chains have been shown to be stable(mostly…yeast and flour are still hot commodities but toilet paper mercifully is plentiful again, at least where I am), curb/kerb-side pick-up is now pretty standard for shops and lots of people have figured out ways to keep active and stay connected while socially distanced (other people, not so good at following the guidelines but I won’t digress down that rabbit hole).

I am able to say that things seem more calm because I’m not a front line or other essential worker. For those stalwarts, perhaps the new norm still feels like a stress-filled, sleep-deprived whirlwind of chaos. It was thinking of the front line workers that led me to write my assignment for the COVID-19 course on short and longer term health considerations relating to this disease. Being on maternity leave just now, this assignment helped me feel like I was contributing in some way, however small that contribution is compared to someone on the front line. I saw and heard other manifestations of people wanting to contribute or at least be better prepared for the disease. Webinars on what a virtual physiotherapy visit might look like. Research on how we might help patients in the post-acute stage of COVID-19. And, fantastically, the interest in the Coronavirus Disease Programme on Physiopedia Plus. As of the middle of April, 11 000 people had signed up for the programme and 7000 people had completed at least the first of the four courses within the programme. Those are spectacular numbers!

Finally, while it is understandable that so much of our attention is on COVID-19 just now, the global health courses are useful reminders of the enormity of the global situation we face with other conditions such as non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Think how many of your patients present with at least one NCD as a co-morbidity to their primary complaint. Do you factor the NCD into your therapy? Could you do more in this regard? Again, the more we stay up to date on global issues, the better we can address these issues through education, advocacy and modelling. I mention modelling in particular because in these courses, there is so much talk about the importance of sufficient physical activity for preventing/managing NCDs that I felt terribly lazy sitting there reading the information. I’ve now done two sessions of reading and watching course material while using a stationary bike and my brain and my body feel much better for it. As important as it is to educate yourself so you can address NCDs in relation to your patients, it’s also important to look after yourself too!