(we make sure that we repeat what we want the patients to know and follow up on what they have learned and find out whether they have been applying that information for the betterment of their health.)

As the age old proverb goes: “Prevention is better than cure”, there is nothing like ‘being too cautious’ when it comes to one’s health. A state of complete well-being of the body not only physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually is what good health is all about. As time passes, the number of parasitic micro-organisms present in the environmentkeeps increasing and may result in life-threatening diseases in the body.Besides that, there are a number of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc. that one cannot simply shrug off. As we are moving towards amore technologically sophisticated era, thereare new cures to these ailments with the development of new drugs as well as newer curative therapies that are being experimented with. However, it is always better to take precautions and forestall a malady which will eventually not only save a person his/her health investment, but also valuable time and lead to a happy and healthy life.

Addressing the need of preventive health care, Nepal MedicitiHospital has taken a step towards incorporating the concept of wellness in medicine. Dr. RajendraRijal,Associate Consultant at Nepal Mediciti Hospital, who has been working in internal medicine as well as the Department of Wellness in the hospital, sheds light on the concept of wellness in health and its importance.

What is wellness in health care facility? Is it a new concept in the Nepali health care scenario?

Wellness mainly focuses on primary prevention, age vaccination and patient awareness. The concept of wellnesscame as a preventive take for ambulatory patients who are not necessarily sick but are concerned about their health and consult their doctors to manage their previous diagnosis in a therapeutic level. It is not a new concept, however. It has been carried out in South Asian countries for a long time and in Nepal as well. Although wellness is not taken as a separate aspect in the hospitals in Nepal, it is a part of internal medicine. Primarily, there is no WellnessDivision in the hospitals in Nepal but there are scattered patients who go for preventive health care.

How is Nepal Mediciti hospital providing preventive health care facilities to their patients?

Regarding wellness in health, we have tried to take a different approach from the other hospitals in the country by engaging patients in their own health decisions. Doctors sit with the patients and give them up to an hour to discuss their own health needs and concerns. We aim to address every concerna patient has, and the aspects he/she needs to be made aware of.Basically, we counsel patients and their family members on their medication and their compliance to it and discuss the upside of age vaccination in case the patient may need one.We provide them the information through brochures and mass media regarding health issues, congenital and infectious diseases.

Can wellness be considered as an alternative form of medicine?

Wellness can be considered as a form of holistic medicine but not exclusive of the conventional medicine entirely. It is not a part of conventional medicine in the sense that patients, even if they are not sick, go to the hospital to have their health checked mainly due to their health concerns and medical history of their family. It all comes from a person’s awareness and how much one cares about his/her health.

How do you think it is effective in bringing change in people’shealth?

The most important contribution of Wellness in health that we have found as health care professionalsin Mediciti, is making patients aware of health information. And it is not just that. If I as a doctor, inform my patient during his/her visit about the things that need to be taken care of only once, he/she cannot completely grasp the information. So, we make sure that we repeat what we want the patients to know and follow up on what they have learned and find out whether they have been applying thatinformation for the betterment of their health.

What kind of patients come to the Wellness Department in Mediciti Hospital?

People of all age groups come for preventive health care. There are patients with a medical history and those who do not have any past records of ailments. Normally, we deal with patients who are concerned about their health. A majority of them areaged patients without any medical history,and young patients who stay abroad but come here for checkups because their health insurance abroad doesnot cover medical checkups.

How important is wellness in the present context?

I have to say that it is extremely important, especially for the group of people who have chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, etc and for people above 50 years of age, regardless of their medical history. Even for young people who are at risk of inheriting congenital diseases, preventive health and health awareness is crucial. It is important for people to know about the importance of a good diet and physical exercises to enjoy a healthy life.