Published in IJCP October 2019
From the Desk of Group Editor in Chief
Perfect Health Mela: A Perfect Example of Low-cost Educational Module for Preventive Health
October 10, 2019 | KK Aggarwal

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancers are increasing at an alarming pace worldwide, including in India. What is more worrying is the fact that these diseases are now occurring at a young age. These are also called lifestyle diseases as their genesis lies in the daily habits or lifestyle of the individual. Tobacco use, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, overweight/obesity and excessive alcohol have been identified as major risk factors for these diseases. All these are behavioral risk factors and are modifiable through lifestyle changes.

Although India is experiencing an epidemiological transition moving away from a predominantly communicable or infectious disease pattern to a predominantly NCD pattern, India continues to bear a twin burden of diseases, both communicable diseases and NCDs. Hence, there is an urgent need to create awareness among the general public about these diseases and their prevention. 

Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) is a leading national non-profit organization working in the field of creating mass health awareness among people from all walks of life and providing solutions for India's everyday health care needs. It is committed to making India a healthier and disease-free nation. It has been the mission of HCFI to make health education simple and enjoyable by mixing it with infotainment using low-cost educational modules.

The Perfect Health Mela, the annual flagship event of HCFI, is a perfect example of a low-cost educational module. It is a one-of-its-kind event held every year with a mission to generate all-around awareness on preventive health using entertainment as a medium. It caters to people from all age groups and all walks of life. School children and youth from different colleges participate in large numbers in the Mela.

The Mela covers all aspects of health, incorporating all pathies under one roof using low-cost replicable education tools like exhibitions, health education seminars, competitions, workshops and free health check-ups, etc. These activities are not just intended as a means of entertainment but also to create health awareness.

“Health sutras” are another example of low-cost educational tool, especially in places of public gathering such as Melas, cinema halls, etc. Sutra is a Sanskrit word, which literally means string or thread. Sutra uses only few words to meaningfully express a truth. Sutras are one-line health messages, which are evidence-based, i.e., they convey scientific information in a simple language making it easy for the patient as well as the public to understand, recall and adopt in their daily life. Hence, they can be effectively used in health communication for dissemination of health information.

We have been using Health sutras at the Mela to impart knowledge. Some examples of health sutras are:

  • Any food of plant in origin does not contain cholesterol.
  • Any fat that is liquid at room temperature is saturated fat.
  • Any fat that is solid at room temperature is unsaturated fat.
  • One percent increase in cholesterol increases the chances of heart attack by 2%.
  • One percent increase in good HDL cholesterol decreases the chances of heart attack by 3%.
  • High blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol can remain silent for up to a decade.
  • Longer the waistline, shorter the lifeline.
  • Smoking or health? The choice is yours.
  • Do not share leftover antibiotics with friends and family.
  • Make Delhi open defecation-free.
  • Stop using single-use (or disposable) plastics.
  • Learn to manage your anger. Meditation, not medication, is the answer for anger.

Since, it was first held in 1993, the Perfect Health Mela has become bigger every year and has become one of the most visited community health events. Last year, the Perfect Health Mela completed 25 years.

The 26th Perfect Health Mela will be held from 18th to 20th October 2019 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. It is being organized jointly with the Dept. of Health & Family Welfare, GNCT, Delhi, and other Central and Delhi State Government departments.

This year, the Mela is being held in partnership with Imperfecto (food), Fena (home, personal and fabric hygiene) and Ansals (university partner).

The Mela will feature its regular events such as Harmony and Ecofest National Inter-School Competitions, Youth Rock Band/Orchestra Festival, Divya Jyoti (Nurses’ festival), Anmol (Festival for children with special needs), Medico Masti (Youth Festival) and Nukkad Natak.

The Mela is centered on a theme every year. The theme of the Mela this year is “Fit Delhi, Fit India” in line with the Fit India campaign of the Government of India. Under this theme, #MainFitToHiIndiaFit movement will be launched at the Mela for a Fit Delhi and Fit India.

Entry to the Mela is free for all.

It is a perfect health picnic spot for the general public.