Jakarta (ANTARA) - "Preventing a disease is better than treating it" are not just words of wisdom but rather something that necessitates attention.

This becomes especially important on account of the fact that several diseases can be prevented by leading a clean and healthy lifestyle.

For instance, regular light physical activity, such as walking or jogging, is very beneficial for preventing various non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke.

Conducting such physical activities to prevent a disease is certainly much easier and cheaper to do than treating a disease.

Hence, the government strives to promote and strengthen the implementation of Community Movement for Healthy Lifestyle (Germas) to prevent and overcome public health problems.

Attempts to bolster education regarding a healthy and clean lifestyle are made in accordance with President Instruction Number 1 of 2017 concerning Community Movement for Healthy Lifestyle.

The regulation was issued to expedite and synergize promotive and preventive health care attempts to boost people’s productivity and reduce the government’s burden in financing healthcare services for the community.

According to the Basic Health Research (Riskesdas) conducted by the Health Ministry, the number of cardiovascular patients rose by 14.4 percent during the 2013-2018 period, thereby bringing healthcare costs to around Rp7.7 trillion per year.

Furthermore, the number of stroke patients increased by 19.4 percent, with the health costs swelling to Rp1.9 trillion annually, while the number of cancer patients surged by 12.5 percent, with the health costs reaching Rp3.1 trillion.

The implementation of Germas includes increasing people’s physical activity, providing healthy foods, accelerating nutritional improvement, increasing disease prevention and early detection, improving environmental quality, as well as bolstering education on healthy lifestyle.

Through intensive campaigns, education, and dissemination of information, the community is expected to cultivate the movement and make a clean and healthy lifestyle as a daily habit.

In addition, the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture had bestowed the Community Movement for Healthy Living Awards in 2022 to increase the commitment of various ministries and agencies in supporting the movement.

It is because the success of Germas hinges on cross-sectoral commitment and synergy from the central government and regional governments, so that information on the importance of a clean and healthy lifestyle can reach all levels of community.

Thus, one can imagine that if a movement to promote a healthy living culture and abandon unhealthy behaviors can be carried out simultaneously on a massive and sustainable basis, disease control, especially concerning non-communicable illness, will run effectively and optimally.

Thus, it is apparent how huge the role of implementation of Germas is -- a movement that raises awareness and increases understanding of the importance of preventive measures in treating diseases -- on the improvement of people’s health quality.

Making small changes, starting from conducting routine physical activity, consuming abundant forms of fruit and vegetables, steering clear of smoking, not consuming alcoholic beverages, conducting periodic health checks, keeping the house and surroundings clean, as well as not conducting open defecation can have huge impacts on the health resilience of each individual.

Optimizing Productive Age Population

Implementation of the Community Movement for Healthy Lifestyle is also important to support the improvement of health quality of the productive age population, specifically people in the category of 15-64 years old, so they can play an active role in national development.

According to data of Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the National Development Planning Ministry, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 2018, it was projected that the number of people of the productive age group in Indonesia will peak to about 206-208 million in 2024.

It cannot be denied that the high number of people from the productive age population poses both challenges as well as presents opportunities.

Thus, concrete attempts are necessary to ensure the health quality of this age group to improve the development of Indonesia's human resources to advance the national economic productivity.

Hence, strengthening Germas is urgently required to increase the quality of public health, especially those of the productive age population.

Based on data of the Health Ministry’s Sehat IndonesiaKu application, as of December 2, 2022, 2,453,689 people, or 39.13 percent out of the total 6,270,759 people, who carried out early detection of non-communicable diseases, suffered from obesity.

Furthermore, 1,941,170 people, or 30.96 percent of them, suffered from hypertension and 138,415 people, or 2.21 percent of them, were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Meanwhile, based on the Global Burden of Disease 2019 report, non-communicable diseases were the biggest cause of patients’ disability and death in Indonesia.

The report noted that cases of non-communicable diseases in Indonesia increased from 2013 to 2018. The number of patients that suffered from hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and obesity increased to 34.1 percent, 8.5 percent, and 31 percent, respectively.

Hence, taking into account the data, the government's attempts to intensify the campaign for the implementation of the Germas is an apposite step.

Nonetheless, people’s awareness and active participation are both needed to make the movement a success as well as to foster a clean and healthy lifestyle as a common culture.

Furthermore, the community needs to increase attempts to encourage children to implement a healthy lifestyle since their early age.

These efforts require active roles of parents and teachers to provide an understanding of the importance of adopting a clean and healthy lifestyle as well as preventing non-communicable diseases in children.

Let us cultivate a clean and healthy lifestyle together and further strengthen the Community Movement for Healthy Lifestyle in 2023 since by leading a healthy lifestyle, the quality of our life will also improve.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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