The mission of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan in protecting people now and in the future, as well as delivering a sustainable healthcare system, are detailed here
The mission of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan can be summed by the catchphrase: “For people, for life, for the future.” On the Ministry’s website, we find out that this catchphrase concisely summarises the notion that MHLW takes a role in protecting people and their lives – not only now but also in the years ahead.
Probing further into this most important notion, we learn that to achieve this purpose, action guidelines have, therefore, been set out for employees at the Ministry to abide by which are:
- The Ministry undertakes its tasks in a fair manner in accordance with high ethical standards.
- They supply administrative services in response to the demands of the public and times we live in.
- They also act from the point of view of individual citizens.
- They also strive for an open government approach, which is facilitated by providing information in an easy-to-understand way.
In addition, it’s also important to add to put the aforementioned guidelines into practice, so the Ministry must be mindful of the following factors on a daily basis as they undertake their duties and take an active approach:
- The Ministry carries out their work efficiently and quickly by approaching their job with a sense of both pride and responsibility.
- They locate issues on their own initiative and work together to seek a solution.
- They also endeavour to keep up their level of ability and to remain in a state of continual improvement. (1)
Prevention of heat strokes
One example of precisely how the MHLW is protecting Japanese people and their lives is the advice they give when it comes to preventing heat strokes. The important point here is that heat stroke can be prevented if the correct preventative measures are taken. The Ministry’s website underlines that the individual must have a correct understanding of heat strokes and be aware of any changes in their physical condition. Added to this, it is also important to watch out for other people and as such, help prevent them from getting heat stroke.
We know that heat stroke happens under the conditions of humidity and high temperature in which case, the balance of the water and salt in the body is disrupted and thermoregulation does not function in the way it should. So, with the accumulation of heat in the body, symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, heavy sweating and nausea appear. In some very severe cases, the person experiences a loss of consciousness.
Going back to this point about prevention, in this case, we know that the intake of water and salt is recommended. Added to this, it is recommended that elderly people and children should follow this advice, even if they do not feel thirsty. It’s interesting to note that indoor environments can create heat strokes but this can be prevented by adjusting temperatures using air-conditioning and electric fans. Other suggested measures include wearing a hat, seeking shade and not going outside during the afternoon on a very hot day. (2)
Conclusion – the priorities for healthcare in Japan
Looking ahead, the Ministry has a very clear goal to deliver a sustainable healthcare system that delivers unmatched outcomes through care that is responsive and equitable to each member of society, and that contributes to prosperity in the country and across the world. A healthcare system must be designed for all lifestyles and people – including people of all ages and providers – where each person is supported to make the life choices that are right for them. This notion is explored further as we leave the last word to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan about their vision for the future of healthcare. This takes us back to the point made at the beginning of the article about the Ministry’s role in protecting people and their lives – now and in the future.
“Amidst rapid population ageing, advances in medical technology, and major shifts in healthcare, a healthcare system that contributes to financial stability while engaging each sector of society to support a nation of health and well-being, where each person is empowered to realise their full wellness potential.” (3)
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