The meaning of the proverb ‘prevention is better than cure’ is that it is better to prevent an unwanted thing from happening in the first place than to take necessary curative measures later. It teaches us to foresee the advent of a situation that would be unwanted and undesirable, and make necessary efforts to prevent its occurrence.
Because, if we allow it to occur then we would be left with no option than to take conciliatory or curative measures to repair the damages; nevertheless, the damages would be done. On the other hand, if we take measures to prevent the incident in the first place – we would escape the damages, losses, harm, or anything similar.
Expansion of idea
The proverb ‘prevention is better than cure’ is advice for us to take necessary steps to prevent something unwanted from happening. This would be the only best option because if we allow the incident to occur, we would probably have to put more labor and resources than we would have done if the incident was prevented in the first place. Preventing an unwanted situation is an easier option than to let it happen and then take action.
Take the simple example of your teeth. Isn’t it better to brush your teeth twice daily to prevent decay than to visit a doctor and spend money on getting the tooth removed? Of course, if you prevent it in the first place, then you would be saving yourself time, money, and pain. Therefore, it is advisable to take preventive measures than to be treated after the situation has occurred.
Short Stories on ‘Prevention is better than Cure’
A story is the best way to understand the moral behind a proverb. The story should be entertaining as well as informative. I am giving below a couple of stories on the proverb – prevention is better than cure for your information.
Short Story 1
There lived a small boy in a small Indian town. The boy was playful and obedient but he had a disregard for rules. It so happened that one day a very deadly virus erupted and millions of people, all over the world, got infected. The doctors advised people to keep a distance from one another, avoid physical contact, and wear face masks, whenever, stepping outside the home.
As usual, our lad didn’t approve of this inhuman condition and despite his parent’s insistence, he didn’t wear the mask and played with friends without social distancing. One day, one of his friend’s cousin who had recently come from Delhi, also joined in the play. A couple of days later, the friend and his cousin didn’t come to play. Upon inquiring the boy came to know that they both have a fever and were being taken to the doctor.
Two days later, our boy also got a fever and was taken to the doctor. He was tested positive with the same deadly virus. It so happened that his friend’s cousin who had come from Delhi was infected and subsequently infected other boys. The boy had to live for two weeks alone in an isolated hospital ward, where he was not even allowed to meet his parents. Fortunately, he recovered and on the way back home he could only think that – prevention is better than cure.
Short Story 2
Ram and Shyam were roommates living in a college hostel. They were good friends and also participated in extracurricular activities together. When monsoon came, their college organized an adventure trip to a nearby mountain river. Both were super excited but there was something that was worrying them.
As it was the rainy season and their room was on the ground floor of the hostel, it was common for rainwater to seep into the walls and through doors. This has damaged their notes and books before as well. Ram was preventive, before leaving on the trip, had shifted all his books to one of his friend’s room on the top floor. Shyam however was careless and thought that nothing would happen and left his books as they were. When they went on the trip, it started raining heavily and they enjoyed it very much.
But, when they returned to the hostel, not very welcome sight it was. Their room was submerged in water up to three feet and all the Shyam’s handwritten notes were completely destroyed. Ram, on the other hand, thanked himself for the decision of shifting his belongings to the top floor room. Ram consoled Shyam and helped him to get the notes prepared again. He also told him to remember that – prevention is better than cure.
As I have said before that a perfectly written example centered on a proverb is more useful in understanding the true worth of the proverb and its meaning. I have given below a couple of examples on the proverb ‘prevention is better than cure’ for you.
“The doctor told his patients to avoid physical contact with someone who is infected with the flu. Even though there are medicines to cure it; nevertheless, prevention is better than cure.”
“The Engineer suggested to the officer, that they should rather build a dam to prevent the annual occurrence of the flood rather than waiting for the flood to occur and then taking rescue measures. After all, prevention is better than cure, the engineer said politely.”
“The captain called for an urgent meeting and told the sailors that they would rather stay on shore today as there was a forecast for an approaching storm. Even though their ship is strong enough to sail through the storm; anyways, prevention is better than cure.”
“We all know that friends and family will be there to help us in need, even then we don’t deliberately call for trouble unnecessarily, because, prevention is better than cure.”
“Little ants spend whole summer, conserving food for long winters because they know that prevention is better than cure.”
The phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ became popular sometime during the 17th century; though a phrase with similar meaning was in popular use during the 13th century – ‘it is better and more useful to meet a problem in time than to seek a remedy after the damage is done.’
Another origin of the phrase is traced back to the Roman poet Persius (A.D.c 58), who had said – ‘meet the malady on its way’. Thomas Adams a Church of England clergyman and an English writer, also reportedly wrote in 1630 – ‘Preuention is so much better than healing because it saues the labor of being sicke.’
Since then the proverb became popular in use by medical professionals around the world and others.
The proverb ‘prevention is better than cure’ is a very important life lesson for people from all sections and all kinds of professions. It warns them not only to be prepared for every eventuality but also to prevent its occurrence in the first place.
For students, it means that they should study well and excel in exams rather than filing for reevaluations and reappearing in exams later on. To working professionals, it advises that they should dispense their responsibilities beforehand, well in advance, than to seek time and permission or excuses, later on.