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Taking individual responsibility for better health

Nairobians are personally responsible and accountable for their own health. Individuals can choose the most unhealthy habits and guarantee themselves a premature departure. Or live as healthily as possible.

A summation of the city dwellers’ unhealthy habits tends to have a collective effect on all of us, thereby affecting everybody else’s health in the city.

Let’s start with smoking, tobacco use is estimated to be responsible for about 5 million deaths a year globally. Smoking is not just harmful to the smoker themselves, the ill-health effects of passive smoking on any bystanders are well known. That’s why we have laws that restrict smoking in restaurants, schools, hospitals and other public places.

Why then do some Nairobians arrogantly, and with disrespect light up unlawfully in public and non-smoking places? And why do we passively inhale their disgusting smoke silently?

The next time you want to light up, please make sure you are alone in an isolated place where only you can inhale the toxins of whatever you smoke. And for the rest of us, let’s raise our voices and stop those lighting up in our presence. Some lives will be saved this way.

Excessive drinking is indirectly, and in some cases directly responsible for many deaths in the city and beyond. You only need to look at the statistics presented by the traffic police department every so often. Measures have been proposed now and again to save our irresponsible drinking habits, but most have been opposed by well-meaning parties!

If we cannot allow Counties to patronize our unhealthy habits, can we individually and collectively do better? We can choose to drink less, alert our colleagues when they are getting over the limit, and nominate a sober driver to take us home thereafter. Such small measures add up to multiple benefits that include less traffic accidents, lower rates of alcohol-related illnesses and more productivity.

Air quality in the city is determined by multiple factors, and health effects of a polluted city are well known. Who is responsible, Nairobi County or ourselves as individuals? Numbers of vehicles on our roads spewing blinding black smoke are massive, all worsened by traffic jams. And some industries carelessly offload untreated waste into the Nairobi air.

This makes the air in the city almost un-breathable at times, and contributes to respiratory diseases. Individual vehicle owners could be more responsible and re-tune their engines, or upgrade to newer models.And industrialists can choose to adhere to good industrial practices by their own accord. Irresponsible littering is no better for our health either, rotting filth is all over the city. True, street litter bins are lacking, but most of us are guilty of dropping disposable waste any howly and anywhere. We could be more responsible than that for better health.

So as Nairobians, let’s take personal responsibility for healthy behavior. And take our County leaders to task if they don’t do their bit too.

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Nairobians are personally responsible and accountable for their own health. Individuals can choose the most unhealthy habits and guarantee themselves a premature departure. Or live as healthily as possible.

A summation of the city dwellers’ unhealthy habits tends to have a collective effect on all of us, thereby affecting everybody else’s health in the city.

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