Connect with us
Advertisement

Re-conceptualising Politics and Private Investment in Botswana

Teedzani Thapelo

Award winning writer, and researcher, Teedzani Thapelo*, takes a provocatively disturbing look at BDP solutions for underinvestment in the national economy, and argues, by inviting Arab petro-dollar princes, Indian nabobs, and dodgy Lebanese gangsters, to fill this void, BDP is making a terrible mistake. Are we prepared for the politic-cultural ramifications of this madness? Would it not be better to court the devils we already know well, our former colonial rulers? All over the world, Thapelo argues, countries are debating these issues, the choices that should be made about their modern world, the civilizations they should embrace, the limits to tolerance in public life, the type of politics they should cultivate, the way nationhood should be crafted, and protected, and the cultural values that should prevail in society. These debates are taking place in countries that are older, richer, bigger, more developed, more sophisticated, more educated, more resourced, and more secure than Botswana. Why should we act differently? Let’s talk about these things in our own ways. Let’s hear what the people think, what they feel. BDP, alone, should not dictate what road we should take into the future.
 

Poverty is a terrible thing. Yes, Batswana, as a nation we are still poor, in many ways still as backward an economy as backwardness can ever be. Forget fancy expressions like Lower Middle Income Country, rapid high rates of growth, high per capita income, and enduring macrostability that BDP spews out incessantly on radio and BTV. These have their uses, in some esoteric offices elsewhere. Ugly facts on the ground, in the real world, daily contradict these fancy figures. Let us be real. In the general order of things we are just a small country, a poor nation. In fact, to much of the world, we are regarded as nothing more than just an obscure geographical expression. Botswana? What is that? A wild animal? A bird? Country? Where? Really? You mean a real country like ours? How amazing? I didn’t know, pass the salt.
 

This is what Batswana who travel the world often have to deal with; trying hard to convince the strangers they meet out there that they come from a country called Botswana. I would not be surprised if of the almost eight billion that live in this wretched planet only 0.01 per cent of people know us. There are just about 200 hundred countries in the world and can you believe that there are still countries where not one person knows us, where the word Botswana has never been mentioned on television, perhaps never been taught to kids in school? But that is a fact. Hard to believe isn’t it? Like most people throughout the world, and throughout history, we take too many things for granted, and that is a dangerous thing, something we should all guard against but there is one thing that will always work against even our best natural instincts; ignorance, sweet, innocent ignorance.
 

Ignorance has killed many people in human history. It has killed many nations. The most shocking thing about human nature is our amazing penchant for fooling ourselves, our partiality to self-delusion, our mistaken believe that we know everything, and that we can deal with anything, that we are men, and women, of the world, and nothing can defeat us. It is only when things start going wrong, when things start horribly going wrong, that we start wringing our hands in confusion, crying, and praying to dead gods, regretting our arrogant self-possession. Sad thing is, by the time we start vociferously remonstrating against ourselves, great damage has already been done; in most cases, irreparable damage. It really is not surprising that almost all human beings live with guilt; a thing that biblical scholars understood well, and made a central part of creation genre in the bible, and the foundation of Christian salvation philosophy.
 

Still we refuse to learn. Habit is always; we should start by doing wrong, and then live with a guilty conscience all our lives. This happened with our historical ancestors who in many ways allowed white rule in Africa, and then spent generations, and centuries, fighting against it. Had everyone one of them killed, on the spot, the first pale person they saw entering their villages there probably would never have been colonial rule. Of course, this is a counterfactual fallacy. We will never really know what would have happened anyway. My point is that we never learn, and if we do, we learn things badly. More than two billion people profess to be Christians but I’d bet my last coin if the real devil materialized out of nowhere and started loudly arguing we should allow him to speak, hear him out, give him a fair hearing, and all that nonsense, most of us would, driven by that greed for knowledge; curiosity, give way.
 

Let us hear the devil out, folks. After all he is already here. Yes, we are a democratic and civilised people. Let him speak. We are used to human speech. There can be no harm in just listening to him, and asking a few questions. The UN would convene, and a resolution would be taken to admit him; to give him a hearing, a fair hearing…and yet our entire Christian civilization rests on the premise that it is this fellow who stands between us, and salvation, the fellow who stole our immortality, the greatest rebel against God, the Antichrist Absolute. Still, we would, I am sure, throw caution to the wind, and sit down to converse with the devil; to hear his side of the story, forgetting that by betraying God, we destroy Heaven, our only place of eternal life after death; the Last Home. That is human nature for you. We are our own greatest enemies. We always find ways of bringing misfortune, unhappiness, and suffering into our lives, and if no excuse presents itself, we invent it.

If we fail to invent good ways of destroying ourselves then we go a mile further, we start doing what other people are doing…just to hurt themselves. They are doing the same thing in America, why can’t we do it here? We are never happy doing things the right way; no, it’s boring. We must always suffer for our mistakes. We must die in style. Man, man, man. This is how we always behave. This is how we have always behaved in history.
 

Now Batswana can someone tell me what the Arab petro-dollar princes are doing here? Yes, I know you call them businessmen, billionaires, to use another facile expression; that infuriatingly alluring definition by numbers; didn’t the great writer Balzac won us behind every great wealth there is theft, and crime? Have we not learnt, as Africans, that behind every great wealth there is blood and suffering? But we are not going to accept this sad reality are we? We have a good excuse. We live in a globalized world, and everybody is welcome to do business here. We are an open economy. We need their money, and expertise. We must do all we can to attract foreign investment. There is nothing like clean money. We cannot pick and choose. We must create jobs for Batswana. We are poor…bah…bah…black sheep.

It’s a most disturbing thing; this endless need to justify bad behaviour, a terrible disease; something we really ought to talk about. But BDP is not going to allow that. No, instead they are going to do things for us…on our behalf…behind closed doors, and like good children we must all eat our peas and shut up. Oh, really? I have a story for you. This is bad business. We are getting ourselves into trouble, big trouble.
 

Of course, we have done business with Asians before. There are Indians in business here. We have the Chinese. No, I don’t accept we are brothers and sisters! Indians are Indians. We are Africans. Chinese are Chinese. It’s as simple as that. As for the Arabs, well, I have a lot to say about these fellows. But before we go on, I have a simple question to deal with: what are we doing inviting all these people to flood our small country and economy so fast, and in so short a period of time? Is this a problem of economic anxiety, or political necessity, on the part of BDP? Is this the right thing to do at this point in time? Are we doing business with the right people, and for the right reasons?
 

Both our country, and our economy, is run by BDP. The private sector is still too nascent to bleat. We must remember that inviting Indians, Chinese and Arabs to invest here means one thing and one thing only; we are committing ourselves to sharing our natural resource exploitation with them. We are giving them more than a stake in our economy, we are, in fact, giving huge parts of our country to them to use as they like, for generations to come, we are ceding to them part of our national soul, and once these people make it good here, many of them will not return to their countries. They will choose to live, and die here. They will ask for more land, more rights, and more entitlements; and they will start inviting more of their friends, and relatives to move in, and share their wealth with them.

There will be a Chinatown in every city, and gigantic mosques with glistening minarets, in every town, and village, right from Ghanzi. throughout Ngamiland, to Tswapong, Francistown, and down south to Gaborone, and all this radical transformation of society, and the physical landscape, may take as little as twenty years given the low costs of transportation and communication, and the stupendous amounts of money these foreigners have, and will happily invest here if things go their way.
 

No, they are not going to learn our cultures, and speak our languages. If anything our children, and their children, are going to have to learn, and speak, Mandarin, Arabic and Hindi, Tamil and God knows what else; perfect trauma. We already have that problem with whites from Europe and America, and remember there are only 2 million Batswana. The population of China alone is almost frightfully huge; billions, and India more than 1 billion. China is not just the second largest economy in the world; it has well pronounced imperial designs on Africa as a whole. Batswana we are playing with fire. Already Indian business is the backbone of many sectors of our economy; especially commerce, and manufacturing.

Already Indians have too much corrupting influence on the BDP, on Government itself, and public policy in general. Indians make decisions that directly affect our lives on a daily basis; in fact they run both the economy, and government. Up to now mining has been in the hands of white Europeans, and already we now know De Beers was closely involved in decisions that affected the lives of Batswana on a daily basis for fifty years through their secretive private dealings with characters like Louis Nchindo.
 

If you are a public figure, a national hero of sorts, and you depend on other people for money and the comforts of life, it is not surprising those who fund your success in life will influence your management of public affairs, in one way or the other. People go into business for money; not friendships. If you become their friend, they turn you into an instrument, a working tool, a prop for making more profits; a stooge. Never think they love you, and if suddenly something goes wrong, they will drop you like a hot potato, denounce, and humiliate you even; this was the fate of poor Nchindo. But all this is common knowledge.

What we don’t know is the damage this did to us as a nation, and a republic, and before we can reassess our relations with foreigners, we are already in bed with people from another part of the world, through the same bond of corrupting influence; the Botswana Democratic Party: Indians, Chinese, and Arabs, people whose histories, cultures, religions and languages we don’t even know. Batswana, what are we doing?
 

We took our chances with people we thought we knew; former colonial masters, and lost, badly, and emboldened by that humiliating adventure, we are now doing something even weirder, sleeping with strangers proper. Is this the way to run national affairs? Why are we so stupid? Would it not be better, perhaps, to stick with the villains we know? Yes, I am unapologetically Anglophile, and yes, I do believe the future of our country is with the Western world, and civilization.

We have made, and, we continue to make, our own contributions, to that world, and its civilization, in our own small ways. But that is not the point. What worries me most is what these Asians have done, and are continuing to do to their own people at home, what these Asians have done to Africans in East, and North Africa, what these Asians have done in history, and world politics; the things these people, including the richest, most brilliant, most educated, and most worldly among them, are capable of, what I would call the horrors of Asiatic imperial domination, from African slavery, through centuries of stoning women to death, to the rise of modern terrorism.
 

Are Batswana capable of living with such things? Do we want those who come after us, our own grandchildren, and great grandchildren, to live with these dangers and horrors? BDP hates debates over these things. They fly against their personal and economic agendas. They are too patriotic. But that’s their business. They have their own reasons for doing things the way they do; mostly their singular infatuation with food, and sensualist exhibitionism. We should not go their way. BDP politics, we all know, has little to nothing to do with civilization, and the rest of the world.

Their politics is not only empty but lacks any respect for political procedure. Their habit is to instrumentalize trifles. They have demonstrated they have no courage to face the future by recklessly, and irresponsibly, turning their back on the African agenda, and African solidarity, refusing point blank to help fellow Africans use purely African values to engage and redress purely African problems. This is what the Khama presidency is all about.
 

At home their politics stubbornly refuses to respond to voter’s concerns on a daily basis. Now strangers, to intuitive political reasoning, their failure to modernize the party have devastatingly compromised all that was constructive in the past. BDP is a historical anachronism. No sensible person should bother about the things they say. Let us only worry about what they do, and do the best we can, to minimize the damage, till a political alternative is found. Meanwhile we must engage with international issues that will no doubt define our domestic politics throughout this century. I worry about Botswana, and those Batswana who, like me, love their country; people who care deeply for the future of this country, a small beautiful country that few outsiders know about, but a country that is home to the most decent ordinary people I have ever known.

It would be sad, I think, perhaps even a sin, if those of us who have had the opportunity to travel the world, and learn things, and grasp the cruel ways of the world, could just lie down, in their homes, and enjoy great literature, from all parts of the world, letting a bunch of unprincipled, and uncaring politicians, ruin this beautiful haven, the only home we have, the only country our children, and their own descendants will ever have.
 

All over the world countries and nations are debating these issues, the choices that political leaders should make about their countries in the modern world, the civilizations that populations should embrace, the outside influences that people should guard against, the limits to tolerance in public life, the friendships, and types of politics, nations should cultivate, the way nationhood should be crafted, and protected, the cultural values that should prevail in society, the best ways to build, and sustain, local communities, the way public money should be spent, who can control which sectors of the economy, how and why, who can get into their countries, who can stay in their countries, and for how long; in short every country wants to articulate with global society is its own terms. These debates are taking place in countries that are older, richer, bigger, more developed, more sophisticated, more educated, more resourced, and more secure than Botswana, countries with historically enduring civilizations, cultures and religions, countries like America, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, among many others.
 

Why should we act differently? Let’s talk about these things in our own ways. Let’s hear what the people think, what they feel. Let’s do things together as a nation, a people, and a republic. That’s the only reason I am writing this article, the only reason I am provoking this debate. I have no agenda against anyone. I only want what is good for Botswana, and Batswana. Oh, boy, I am beginning to sound like Trump. But what can I do? We live in a strange world. We live in a most peculiar age. This is a political dissertation, and not just some bland orthodox ideological statement. A counter argument is most welcome. I am quite sure in the great boulevards, streets, corridors of power, parliaments, and even villages of China, India, and the whole of the Arab world, people are talking about nothing else but these very same issues.

They are asking themselves how they should accommodate Africans in their cultures, and societies, what attitude, and policies, they should take against Donald Trump. Fact of the matter is that global political discourse, and culture, are changing, and established political truths, and taboos, are crumbling, giving way to different political dialogues, and narratives, in the political philosophy of modern society. People are redefining themselves, and their societies. We are all taking different paths into the world of tomorrow, and I really do think, little, and poor, as we are, we, too, have a perfect right to do the same. We have the right to force the world to accept us on our own terms.
 

Let us not do what the BDP is doing. As a country, and a nation, let us do things our own way. The world will respect us for that. Just because you are small, and poor, does not mean everybody can, or should, ride roughshod over you. Botswana belongs to us. As citizens let us start doing things the right way, guided by no principle than the simple fact if we don’t stand up for ourselves, who will stand up for us?
 

Teedzani Thapelo*, is author of the Botswana novel series Seasons of Thunder, Vol. 1(2014), Vol. 2 (2015) and Vol. 3 (2016) and forthcoming books; Battle Against the Botswana Democratic Party: the beginning of the point of departure, Politics of Unfulfilled Expectations in Botswana: a dangerous mess, Philosophy of Death and the Ruin of Selibe-Phikwe: abandonment and revolt, The Argument Against the Botswana Democratic Party: an intellectual inquiry and Khama Presidency and Vanity Fair in Parliament: an African political tragedy.

Continue Reading

Columns

Appendicitis: Recognising the Signs

29th March 2022

Many a times I get clients casually walking into my room and requesting to be checked for “appendix”.  Few questions down the line, it is clear they are unaware of where the appendix is or what to expect when one does have it (appendicitis). Jokingly (or maybe not) I would tell them they would possibly not be having appendicitis and laughing as hard as they are doing. On the other hand, I would be impressed that at least they know and acknowledge that appendicitis is a serious thing that they should be worried about.

So, what is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix; a thin, finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. Often the inflammation can be as a result of blockage either by the faecal matter, a foreign body, infection, trauma or a tumour. Appendicitis is generally acute, with symptoms coming on over the course of a day and becoming severe rapidly. Chronic appendicitis can also occur, though rarely. In chronic cases, symptoms are less severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. 

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always ends up in the operating theatre. Though the appendix is locally referred to as “lela la sukiri”, no one knows its exact role and it definitely does not have anything to do with sugar metabolism. Appendicitis can strike at any age, but it is mostly common from the teen years to the 30s.

Signs to look out for

If you have any of the following symptoms, go and see a Doctor immediately! Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in acute appendicitis;

Sudden pain that starts around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen within hours

The pain becomes constant and increases in severity (or comes back despite painkillers)

The pain worsens on coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking or deep breaths

Loss of appetite

Nausea and vomiting

Fever

Constipation or diarrhoea

Abdominal bloating/fullness

Diagnosis

The doctor often asks questions regarding the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. This will be followed up by a physical examination in which the Doctor presses on the abdomen to check for any tenderness, and the location of the pain. With acute appendicitis, pressing on and letting go of the right lower abdomen usually elicits an excruciatingly unbearable pain. Several tests may be ordered to determine especially the severity of the illness and to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The tests may conditions include: blood tests, a pregnancy test, urinalysis, abdominal  “How do ultrasound scans work?” ultrasound (scan), CT scan or MRI Scan.

Treatment

The gold standard treatment of acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix known as appendectomy. Luckily, a person can live just fine without an appendix! Surgical options include laparoscopy or open surgery and the type will be decided on by the Surgeon after assessing the patient’s condition. Painkillers and antibiotics are also given intravenously usually before, during and after the surgery.

Complications

Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;

Appendicular mass/abscessIf the appendix is inflamed or bursts, one may develop a pocket of pus around it known as an abscess. In most cases, the abscess will be treated with antibiotics and drained first by placing a tube through one’s abdominal wall into the abscess. The tube may be left in place for a few hours or days while the infection is clearing up but ultimately one would still have surgery to remove the appendix.

Peritonitis – without treatment, the appendix can rupture/burst. The risk of this rises 48–72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix spreads the infection throughout the abdomen (peritonitis). This is life threatening and requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.

Death – The complications of appendicitis (and appendectomy) can be life threatening, only if the diagnosis has been missed and no proper treatment has been given on time. This is rare though with the evolved medical care.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email  HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

Continue Reading

Columns

A degree of common sense

7th February 2022

Here’s a news item from last month you may have missed. In December 2021 the University of Staffordshire announced it would be offered a degree course in pantomime! Yes, that’s right, a degree in popular festive entertainment, the Christmas panto.

We used to have one here, put on by the Capitol Players, though it seems to have fallen away in recent times, but the spectacle is still alive and well in the UK, both in local ad-dram (amateur dramatic ) societies and on the London stage and most of the major cities, these latter productions usually featuring at least one big-draw name from the world of show business with ticket prices commensurate with the star’s salary.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the pantomime format, it consists of a raucous mixture of songs and comedy all based around a well-known fairy or folk tale. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk & Dick Whittington are perennial favourites but any well-known tall tale goes. There is no set script, unlike a play, and storyline is just a peg to hang a coat of contemporary, often bawdy, gags on, in what should be a rollicking production of cross dressing – there has to be at least one pantomime dame, played by a man and always a figure of fun, and a Principal Boy, ostensibly the male lead, yet played by an attractive young woman.

As an art form it can trace its roots back to 16th century Italy and the Commedia Del’Arte which used a mélange of music, dance, acrobatics along with a cast of comic stock characters so it has a long and proud theatrical tradition but you have to wonder, does that really qualify it as a suitable subject for a university? Further, what use might any degree be that can be acquired in a single year? And last but not least, how much standing does any degree have which comes from a jumped-up polytechnic, granted university status along with many of its ilk back in 1992, for reasons best known to the government of the time? Even more worrying are the stated aims of the course.

Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry. Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.

“We want to see how far we can take this,” Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said. The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, “particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter”. Questions including “how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?” will be asked, Prof Marsden added.

Eek! Sounds like Prof. Marsden wants to rob it of both its history and its comedic aspects – well, good luck with that! Of course that isn’t the only bizarre, obscure and frankly time and money-wasting degree course available. Staying with the performing arts there’s Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Bath Spa University. Sounds like fun but why on earth would a circus performer need a university degree?

Or how about a Surf Science and Technology degree at Cornwall College (part of the University of Plymouth). Where the one thing you don’t learn is….how to surf!

Then there is a  degree in Floral Design at University Centre Myerscough. No, I hadn’t heard of it either – turns out it’s a college of further education in Preston, a town that in my experience fits the old joke of ‘I went there once…..It was closed’ to a ‘T’!

Another handy (pun intended) art is that of Hand Embroidery BA (Hons), offered at the University for the Creative Arts. Or you could waste away sorry, while away, your time on a course in Animal Behaviour and Psychology. This degree at the University of Chester teaches you about the way animals think and feel. Cockroaches have personalities according to the subject specs– you couldn’t make it up.

Happily all these educational institutes may have to look to their laurels and try to justify their very existence in the near future. In plans announced this week, universities could face fines of up to £500,000 (P750m), be stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down if they cannot get 60 per cent of students into a professional job under a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses. Further, at least 80 per cent of students should not drop out after the first year, and 75 per cent should graduate.

The rules, published by the Office for Students (OfS), aim to eliminate ‘low-quality’ courses by setting new standards & requiring courses to improve their rating in the TEF, the official universities ratings system. Universities not meeting the new standards will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. Unconventional courses that could fall victim to the new rules could include the University of Sunderland’s BA in Fashion Journalism, where students learn essential’ skills such as catwalk reporting and the history of Chanel.  They have only a 40 per cent chance of entering highly skilled work 15 months after leaving.

At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of a professional job within 15 months. Universities minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the move, saying ‘When students go to university, they do so in the pursuit of a life-changing education, one which helps pave their path towards a highly skilled career. Any university that fails to match this ambition must be held to account.’

OfS found that at 25 universities, fewer than half of students find professional work within 15 months.  Business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire (14.8 per cent) were among the least likely to lead to graduate-level jobs.  Asked to comment, the University of Sunderland said it always looked ‘to find ways to improve outcomes’; University College Birmingham said data on graduates and definition of ‘professional work’ was limited. I’ll bet it is! As the saying goes, ’what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’. What a pantomime!

Continue Reading

Columns

Why regular health checks are important!

7th February 2022

With the world still reeling from the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and the latest Omicron variant (which is responsible for the ongoing global forth wave) on everyone’s lips, we should not forget and neglect other aspects of our health.

While anyone can get infected with corona virus and become seriously ill or die at any age, studies continue to show that people aged 60 years and above, and those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, cancers, or mental illness are at a higher risk of developing serious illness or dying from covid-19.

It is a good habit to visit a doctor regularly, even if you feel healthy. Regular health checks can help identify any early signs of health issues or assess your risk of future illness hence prompting one to take charge and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other non-communicable diseases (even communicable) can often be picked up in their early stages, when chances for effective treatment are high.

During a health check, your doctor will take a thorough history from you regarding your medical history, your family’s history of disease, your social life and habits, including your diet, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking and drug intake. S/he will examine you including measuring your weight, blood pressure, feeling your body organs and listening to your heart and lungs amongst the rest. Depending on the assessment, your doctor will notify you how often you need to have a health check. If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks from an early age.

Diet – a healthy diet improves one’s general health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we have at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Physical activity – regular physical activity has significant health benefits on one’s body, mind & soul. It contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills and improves overall well-being. According to the world health organisation (WHO), people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity at least four days in a week. Examples of moderate physical activity include brisk walking, gentle swimming and social tennis.

Weight – maintaining a healthy weight range helps in preventing long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also vital for one’s mental wellbeing and keeping up with normal activities of daily living. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference annually. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently and a stern management plan in place.

Alcohol – as per WHO reports, alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Healthy drinking entails taking no more than two standard drinks per drinking day with at least two alcohol-free days in a week.

Smoking –Nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, many different types of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, at least a whopping 8 million people succumb from tobacco use worldwide. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers through second-hand smoke exposure. It is not ‘fashionable’ if it is going to cost you and your loved ones lives! If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor and get help in quitting as soon as possible to reduce the harm.

Blood pressure: Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition. Have your blood pressure checked annually if it is normal, you are aged under 40 and there is no family history of hypertension. You might need to have it checked more frequently if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side, or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Your doctor will be there to guide you.

Dental care – eating a low-sugar diet and cleaning and flossing the teeth regularly can reduce one’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and professional cleaning, or more frequently as per your dentist’s advice.
Blood tests – annual to five-yearly blood tests may be done to further assess or confirm risk of disease. These may include blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, liver function, tumour markers, among other things. They may be done frequently if there is already an existing medical condition.

Cancer screening – various screening techniques can be done to detect different cancers in their early or pre-cancer stages. These include; skin inspections for any suspicious moles/spots, two-yearly mammograms for those at risk of developing breast cancer, Pap smear or the new Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years, stool tests and colonoscopy (every five years) for those at most risk of bowel cancer, prostate cancer screening for those at risk (over 45 years of age, family history of cancers etc.). Discuss appropriate tests with your doctor.

Vaccinations – You should discuss with your doctor about the necessary routine immunisation, in particular; the Covid-19 vaccines, an annual flu shot, a five-yearly pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one or you are immunocompromised and any other boosters that you might need.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!