Someone recently asked me the age-old question, “what do your kids want to be when they grow up?” I answered truthfully but then expressed my deeper thoughts on the issue. There are more than 7 billion people on this planet, and for all of us to aim for a job that already existed made little sense to me. I explained that as a doctor, I saw a gap in health and decided to make a change. I started my own business and created a job title that matches what I do – a Health and Well-being Consultant.
The reality is Primary Healthcare and Medicine are burdened by illness and costs. It is no longer the doctor who knows your whole family and the village where you are from. The loss of context in Primary Care has created a gap that subtracts from the care people need. This situation affects the sustainability of healthcare as problems are identified later. Not knowing the real social circumstances also limits health to a clinical realm of asking questions but being denied the knowledge of the person’s environment and personal social circumstances.
These aspects of a person’s life are important because it gives clues to mental health, social health, and financial health issues that can have a direct impact on one’s physical health without it being recognized. The facets of well-being have been highlighted during the COVID pandemic and Health, and Well-being are recognized as key to a sustainable future. Noteworthy as well, the United Nations had already added Good Health and Well-being as a Sustainable Development Goal in 2015. It is no surprise that governments, people, and businesses are now trying to find better ways to wellness.
From a primary care doctor’s standpoint, spending extra time with clients in the office or at their home or place of work provides a deeper insight into their health hazards and risks. We are also able to explore the client’s thoughts, concerns, and expectations more and provide them with evidence-based answers to the numerous questions they have. The outcome of such a consultation is amazing to witness. Clients grow in their own knowledge and independence in managing their health and well-being. This means we help them gain the tools they need to live a happier and healthier life. Unfortunately, this model of patient consultation requires time, and most times, doctors can’t do this due to wider constraints.
As we have identified the importance of all aspects of well-being on health, looking for a community solution is also necessary, and the workplace in this context is a good place to start. It is a fact that many working people spend most of their lives at work with the rest of their life feeling the ripple effects of their work environment. As we consider health at work, Occupational Health is a special field that promotes and maintains the highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations in all workplaces.
For me this is significant because many businesses are looking towards improving health and wellness at work, but how many of us know whom we should turn to? The latest publication of “Occupational Health: The Value Proposition” highlights the evidence around wellness interventions, the role of OH in bringing economic value, and simply the moral responsibility of employers to their employees. There is also a legal aspect when managing staff health, and Occupational Health professionals are trained to give this type of advice.
Working with Medi Sense Clinic, an Occupational Health Clinic with wellness at its core allows me the opportunity to bring meaningful changes to the health and wellness landscape in the UAE. Our holistic approach is currently needed more than ever. Everything with value in this world exists in multiple dimensions. We create strategies to manage health and well-being in all these dimensions.
Dr. Farah Ahmed
MBBS, PGDipFamMed, MRCGP [INT], MScOccMed (UK)
Occupational Wellbeing Consultant and General Practitioner