THE OTHER SLOVAKIA

Blog: Na zdravie!

To have alcohol producers among the sponsors of a health conference organised by the Health Ministry is a faux pas, as the French would say (with or without a glass of champagne in hand).

(Source: Sme)

I am sure that one of the first words that every single foreigner coming into contact with a Slovak national learns is zdravie but not to discuss any topic related to the chronically ill Slovak healthcare system but as part of Na zdravie! - which is the local expression for Cheers!. I have always been intrigued by the connection between health (zdravie) and alcohol in one place and one go (though many glasses). It’s not only the Slovak language that has it, even my native language uses it also less frequently than Noroc! which means in fact good luck!. By the way, if you happen to have some drinks with Romanians NEVER –EVER use the German Prost! because in Romanian it means stupid/idiot. In fact the Slovak frajer (boyfriend) also means idiot in Romanian so be aware what you wish for and how you introduce people in the multicultural environment of business services centres spread all over Bratislava.

But back to the association between health and alcohol. My faithful readers, in case I have any, might remember that I concluded my previous blog post in a bit of a hurry because I had to finish a glass of red wine and get ready for an international conference on the prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases organised by the Slovak Health Ministry as part of Slovakia’s EU Presidency. Slovakia is among the EU member states with very high mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases and various types of cancer, and doctors say one leading cause is that “SLOVAK+PREVENTION (does not)=LOVE” and “HEALTH MINISTRY+PREVENTION PROGRAMMES (does not)= LOVE”.

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