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The Enmerkar Fiasco

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER  
 

Uruk king fails to get Aratta king to cower as Jehovah’s granddaughter juggles the two as sex pets

Enmerkar, the King of Inanna-Ishtar’s cult city of Uruk in  Sumer, was desperate to bring the mineral-rich Kingdom of Aratta, over which Inanna had jurisdiction too, under subjection to Uruk. He vowed he would stop at nothing until this end was accomplished, his reasoning rightly or wrongly being that without him, Inanna wouldn’t be the great queen she now was – straddling two of the world’s pre-eminent regions.

“The wealth of Aratta he coveted, to be over Aratta supreme he schemed,” the Sumerian records so plainly expose him.  It was not enough that Aratta had consented to paying tribute to Uruk in the form of precious stones and had made good on its undertaking: Enmerkar wanted Aratta to be a vassal state of Uruk, finito.

Thus it was that Enmerkar sent an emissary to Aratta to deliver a haughty ultimatum in which he threatened to “bring desolation upon Aratta and dispersion upon its people”. His message in a nutshell was, “submit or else …” Enmerkar strategically picked a time when Aratta was at its most vulnerable. The kingdom was reeling from a telling drought that had destroyed its crop and so was dependent on the granaries of Sumer for the sustenance of its people. If the king turned out to be stubborn, Enmerkar would pull the plug on the supply of grain and the people of Aratta so hard done by might picket him, thereby providing Inanna an excuse to depose him. In truth, the likelihood of such a scenario was a tall order given the hots Inanna had for the King of Aratta but a naive Enmerkar counted on it anyway.

Receiving the message, the King of Aratta, a very wily political operator if there was one, decided to engage Enmerkar in what the great Sumerologist Samuel N Kramer calls “the first war of nerves”. In this post-Tower of Babel era, the world no longer spoke a uniform language but several, most of which wholly unrelated to each other courtesy of Enlil’s divide and rule globalwide gambit.  Taking advantage of this state of affairs, the King of Aratta replied that with due respect, he didn’t understand a single word of the message he received in the now ancient Sumerian language. “Like the bray of a donkey its sound is,” he regretted, appealing to his opposite number to send a fresh message in the language of Aratta, which Enki had devised at the instruction of Enlil.

Enmerkar was furious as he knew the King of Aratta was playing mind games with him. He there and then decided to suspend grain supplies to Aratta so as to teach his counterpart a lesson and with the hope that thus floored, the King of Aratta would come to him running, with cap in hand, and declare himself ready now to kowtow to Uruk. Enmerkar, it turned out, had miscalculated: a year passed and the King of Aratta was a no-show.  

KING OF ARATTA DEFIES ENMERKAR

Even with this virtual egg on his face, Enmerkar was simply not giving up on Aratta. Since the stakes were so high, he considered that it was better to play along to the tune the King of Aratta was singing than throw in the sponge. Calling upon Ninsaba, Enki’s daughter with Ninmah who was the Anunnaki’s Goddess of Writing and who was well-versed in practically every language, he bid her to draft on his behalf a message to the King of Aratta in the latter’s own language.

This time around, the message was even blunter. “Submission or war,” it said. The ultimatum, however, was tempered with something of a sweetener – the offer of seeds from   Aratta’s grain tribute of yesteryears which had been kept in the Eanna granaries and which might considerably help in ameliorating the famine that now plagued Aratta. And this time around, the emissary was no less than Enmerkar’s own son Lugalbanda. It turned out Enmerkar had underestimated the cunning of Inanna, who didn’t care a damn about Aratta being under Uruk suzerainty.

Significantly, Inanna didn’t wish to alienate the King of Aratta, her highly prized bedfellow who delivered with distinction when she wanted to be sexually serviced whilst visiting there. So what does she do? Using what we today call HAARP technology, she artificially induces torrential rains in Aratta even whilst Lugalbanda is  on his way there with a view to bolster up its king’s bargaining power versus Enmerkar.  “A storm, like a great lion attacking, stepped up,” the Sumerian records relate. “Drought was suddenly broken by a thunderstorm that made the whole land tremble, the mountains quake. And once again, white-walled Aratta became a land of abundant grains.”

Thus emboldened, the King of Aratta once again thumbed his nose at Enmerkar, underlining to Lugalbanda that he was not going to be tossed around at Enmerkar’s whim and that Her Imperial Majesty Queen Inanna the Goddess of Aratta was solidly behind him. “Inanna Mistress of Lands has not abandoned her house in Aratta, has not handed over Aratta to Unug-Ki (Uruk),” the king asserted in full flow, brimming with confidence.  “Aratta will not submit.”

The defiant king went on to say that if push came to shove, he was ready to go to war with Uruk. He also made it clear that from now henceforth, he would no longer pay tribute to Uruk by way of precious stones unless Enmerkar was prepared to share Uruk MEs with Aratta. And as if to poke fun at Enmerkar, the King of Aratta even donated part of the strategic grain reserves he had hoarded to Uruk to underscore the fact that with abundant rain now, Aratta would no longer require food aid crumbs from Uruk.

It was a deadlock: in the final analysis, neither king was prepared to concede to the other’s terms and Enmerkar for one was not ballsy enough to go beyond sabre rattling and follow through on his threat of waging war on Aratta. “The riches of Aratta Unug-ki did not receive; the MEs of Unug-ki Aratta did not obtain,” the Sumerian records inform us.    On balance though, it was Aratta which bore the brunt in the fullness of time. “In the Third Region, civilised mankind did not fully blossom,” the Sumerian texts lament as indeed the Uruk MEs, which were crucial to expediting the economic and technological headway of the Indus Valley, were not availed to Aratta.  

GODDESS WHO REVELLED IN NUDITY

In time, Inanna became the most famous god throughout the Indus Valley. Although she was dubbed the Goddess of War, it was as the Goddess of Love (love-making and not the usual spiritual love) she was best known as. In paintings and clay figurines of the Indus civilisation era, she is variously depicted as a warrior armed to the teeth; an astronaut fully kitted in aviational gear; and a stark naked, bare breasted woman with rows of beads and necklaces. But it was her sexuality that struck the greatest chord with her subjects as it were depictions which project her as such that abounded in the Indus Valley. Some such depictions show her raising the hemline of her skirt to reveal her shapely thighs and her prominent, clean shaven punami.   

The Persians (of Iran) and Pushtans (of Afghanistan) called her Abesind and Abasind respectively (very much an echo of her other Sumerian name  Absin, meaning “whose father is Sin”). To the Greeks and Romans, she was known, amongst a clutch of other names, as Indos and Indus respectively, which was just as apt. It’s Inanna after whom the Indus River is named and since the name India derives from the Indus River, the country itself too is derivatively named after Inanna. In Aratta, Inanna was known as Indra.

INANNA’S SUBJECT KINGS

Let us at this juncture try to recap on the saga of Uruk, Inanna’s principal cult city as part of the dot.connection process so that we do not lose our bearings as we match on down the Earth Chronicles lane, which is now just over 100 articles strong with a total of just under 455,000 words, equivalent to about 7 fair-sized books. When in 3800 BC civilisation was proclaimed for Sumer, the so-called First Region, by King Anu at the insistence of Enki, a new political perch for Earthlings was instituted, the first time this happened since the Flood of Noah’s day.

This was kingship. The human king would rule his fellow humans not on his behalf but on behalf of a superintending god.  The first Sumerian city designated as the seat of kingship was Kish, then the cult city of Ninurta, Jehovah-Enlil’s firstborn son. Forty years later, Enlil announced that kingship would not only be the privilege of Kish but would rotate from city-state to city-state at a time of his choosing. Thus it was that circa 3750 BC, kingship was transferred to Uruk with a view to placate Inanna, who was making petulant noises in relation to what she regarded as  intentional foot-dragging on the part of Enlil to allocate her her own domain as per the promise to her by King Anu.

Now, Uruk was famed for one particular specialty – metal casting, notably of alloys of tin. The best tin metallurgists on the planet were to be found in Uruk. Even the Eanna, Inanna’s magnificent temple-house, was structurally made of alloyed tin. Indeed, Eanna, which is typically interpreted as “House of Anu”, can also alternatively be read as “House of Tin”. Anna was the Anunnaki term for tin and the Anunnaki placed a value on tin that rivalled that of gold and silver (the demigod Sargon the Great of Akkad valued the metal so much that he chose it rather than gold or silver for commemorating himself).

Before Uruk attained kingdom status, its day-to-day affairs were conducted by a high priest. This high priest was a demigod, a son of Utu-Shamash, Inanna’s twin-brother, with an Earthling woman. His name was Meskiaggasher, or Meshack in short. Mes/Mesh was the Sumerian prefix or suffix for “Master Metallurgist” “or “Master Craftsman”, the Masonic title of a dynastic king those days and up to New Testament times. Since at that juncture all kings were demigods – part-human, part-Anunnaki – Mes/Mesh became synonymous with royalty.  By the same token, the Egyptian word Mes or Mses, meaning “issue of” (e.g. Thothmes), conveyed the same meaning in its original sense in that the Pharaohs were demigods or claimed to be demigods.   

With kingship having been transferred from Kish to Uruk, Meshack was installed as King of Uruk. He ruled for 324 years before he was succeeded by his son Enmerkar, who in truth was Shamash’s biological son courtesy of the Anunnaki’s overly lax sex morals whereby one could sleep with any consenting woman: it didn’t matter whether she was a close relation such as a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, an aunt, or a daughter-in-law and it didn’t matter that she was married.

Enmerkar was on the throne for 420 years. Under him, Uruk prospered as never before, earning him the tribute of “The Man Who Built Uruk” which resounded for centuries thereafter. It was during Enmerkar’s reign that the Eanna was transformed from a no more than gleaming edifice to a sparkling structure bedecked with all kinds of precious stones extorted from mineral-rich Aratta in the Indus Valley.   

After Enmerkar came his son Lugalbanda. Lugalbanda had the prestige of marrying the goddess  Ninsun whilst he was high priest,  his status before he ascended to the throne. As King, he ruled for 1200 years, the longest reigning demigod in the post-diluvial age.   The mixed couple sired 11 children, the most famous of whom is Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was King of Uruk for between 126 and 150 years and was succeeded by his son Ur-Lugal, who in turn was succeeded by his son Utu-Kalamma. Altogether, 12 kings reigned in Uruk for a combined total of 2310 years. Thereafter, kingship moved to Ur, the cult city of Inanna’s father Nannar-Sin.
      
SHORT MAN WITH A TALL PEDIGREE

The post-diluvial age saw a rather curious switch in the Anunnaki’s relations with Earthlings in one particular respect.  Before the Flood, it were Anunnaki men, “the sons of the gods”, who pursued Earthling women, “the daughters of men”. After the Flood, the status quo changed full circle: it were royal Anunnaki women, the goddesses, who sought spouses among Earthling men, particularly demigods.

We already know that Inanna was crazy  about Earthling men though none of them was prepared to take her to the altar due to  her eccentricities that knew no bounds. But there was one decent goddess who had an enduring and fruitful marriage with an Earthling. This was Ninsun, Enki’s daughter with Ninmah and therefore a brother to Ninurta, who  Ninmah had way back in Sirius with Enlil. Ninsun made overtures to Lugalbanda and before long the two lovebirds had tied the knot. His intrinsic qualities aside, Lugalbanda’s fundamental qualification for marrying a goddess was that he himself was the son of a goddess, Inanna, and so was at least 50 percent Anunnaki.

The fact that he was half-Anunnaki automatically merited him the title “Divine Lugalbanda”, or Dingir.Lugalbanda in Sumerian. The Anunnaki had relaxed aspects of their social-status code after the Flood and one such revised convention was that  any Earthling  who had at least half of Anunnaki royal blood in him qualified to be called divine. When Lugalbanda succeeded to the throne after Enmerkar, he adopted the title Lugal, meaning “Great Man”. Now, every king is a great man in that he is  the  highest ranking  personage in his domain.

In Lugalbanda’s case, the Lugal emphasis had to do with his being plagued by what is known as Short Man Syndrome. Lugalbanda was unfortunate enough to take after the slight physical stature of his mother Inanna, who was about 5-foot-5 – a midget in Anunnaki terms. His name when correctly spelt is actually Handa, not Banda. Handa meant “Shorty”. The name Lugalbanda therefore was meant to emphasise the point that he might be a small man but as a demigod he was of greater genetic pedigree and as a King he was the greatest man amongst Earthlings.

When Inanna was awarded the Indus Valley, she wanted Lugalbanda, then her high priest, to rule Aratta. Lugalbanda, however,  was not keen on the idea. He was by nature an adventurer: he lived a peripatetic life and therefore was always away on expeditions to indulge his wanderlust. It was after she was snubbed by Lugalbanda that Inanna settled for Dumuzi’s unnamed extramarital son as King of Aratta.  

INANNA SHAGS HER OWN SON!

Following Enmerkar’s earlier stalemate with the King of Aratta, he decided to send Lugalbanda over to take a strong line with the king with a view to get him to yield to the demand for unconditional subjection to Uruk. As related above, the mission was a total fiasco. Resultantly, Lugalbanda was gutted, for as far as he was concerned, it was he who had failed, a shame for a heir. On his return journey therefore, Lugalbanda dispensed with aerial transportation, choosing instead to travel overland by chariot, both to delay to the fullest extent possible a very likely stormy encounter with his father and to explore the wonders of nature being a naturalist himself. In the course of these peregrinations, he not only fell acutely ill but fell into a coma too.  

Upon hearing of her son’s plight, Inanna enlisted her brother Shamash and together they rushed to the Kurdistan wilds in modern-day Iran by flying saucer, equipped with state-of-the-art medical paraphernalia. Touching down at the scene of Lugalbanda’s afflictions, Shamash went to work forthwith. He employed on the half-dead Lugalbanda “stones that emit light” and “stones that make strong”, whereupon Lugalbanda stirred back to full vitality. The moment this happened, Inanna staged a mental breakdown.

Remember, Inanna had, as a matter of public knowledge, always been haunted by the memory of her long-deceased husband Dumuzi. “Dumuzi she still mourned,” the Sumerian records emphasise.  “When she flew about, in the sun’s rays, Dumuzi’s image she saw shimmering and beckoning.”  So when Lugalbanda was dramatically revived, Inanna cried out with feigned derangement that, “A miracle has happened! My beloved Dumuzi to me has come back!” Returning to the Eanna with a fighting fit Dumuzi, she commandeered him to her own bedroom, which she specially decorated for him in the pretended belief that he was the resurrected Dumuzi.

The inevitable followed – an all-night-long   bang-bang-bang by her own son who though short had a large appendage – the thing that mattered the most to the size queen that was Inanna! Clearly, she had always had a crush on him and was just waiting for the opportune time to pounce. Of course there was nothing Lugalbanda’s wife Ninsun could do about this boldfaced adultery: an Anunnaki had the right to sleep with anybody for as long as there was mutual consent.   

From that point on, Lugalbanda was toast for her own mother: she would call upon him every time she had the itch, which meant more often than not being the nympho she was. Also from that point  on, Inanna had a new but bogus boast – that she had powers of life and death having brought back Lugalbanda from the dead. She was, so she bragged, a Goddess proper and not simply an Anunnaki Queen.

It was all a hollow boast really since Lugalbanda had not died but was simply comatose and the person who medically worked on him was not she herself but her brother Shamash. But in those days when the Earthling masses were more susceptible to mis-information and disinformation than we are in this age of the newspaper, the radio, the television, and the Internet, Inanna’s boast was taken as gospel truth by her subjects from Uruk all the way to the Indus Valley.

NEXT WEEK:  LUGALBANDA  AT “MOUNTAIN OF THE GODS”

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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.

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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!

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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.

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