Connect with us
Advertisement

“Go to Abode of Gods”

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER    

Enkidu urges death-plagued bosom-friend Gilgamesh    

The anti-Gilgamesh spooks in the ranks of Uruk’s intelligence community had been alerted about the arrival in town of Enkidu and so were already primed to provide him with all the requisite material support.  Because of his towering size and arresting looks, Enkidu was quick to catch the attention and fascination of the Uruk populace: practically overnight, he was the buzz of the city-state. Word spread about   this mammoth being who was reputed to have fought bears, chimpanzees, and gorillas and wipe the floor with them. Soon there was talk of him challenging Gilgamesh to a wrestling match in a historic clash of the titans.

With Enkidu making waves in his own domain, Gilgamesh got to hear of him but he totally ignored him with typical monarchical ego.  It did not take long, however, for their paths to cross.  A wedding was due and Enkidu was strategically invited as one of the guests of honour. Gilgamesh automatically made a showing with an eye to do his usual deed only this time around there was a spanner in the works.  For when the newly-weds retired to their pad that evening, Enkidu offered to stand guard at their gate to ensure the King did not harass the bride. The couple were ecstatic at the prospect of consummating their marriage without the intrusion of a usurpist third part.

Turning up at the house later in the evening to demand his due, Gilgamesh was stoutly opposed by Enkidu, who told him in no uncertain terms that he was not welcome. The King was surprised at Enkidu’s cheek and boldness. Ordinarily, he’d have let loose his security detail on him but he beckoned to them to hold their ground so that he himself teaches the giant rascal a lesson. Stepping forward, Gilgamesh laid into Enkidu and a fight ensued. “They grappled each other, holding fast like bulls,” the Sumerian chronicles relate. “Walls shook, doorposts shattered as the two wrestled.”

The two behemoths tangled for about 45 minutes as a concourse   of onlookers cheered them on, most of them rooting for Enkidu as opposed to their thuggish King. At some stage in the tussle, Enkidu pinned Gilgamesh, putting him in a rather precarious position whereby he had no option but to tap out in submission. For the first time in his life, Gilgamesh had lost a wrestling scrap. The sense of ignominy was harrowing.

The following day, the King’s defeat was the number one  topic of conversation throughout Uruk. There was even conjectural talk that Gilgamesh was so mortified he was contemplating stepping down from the throne to give way to Enkidu. Meanwhile, wherever Enkidu went, he was lauded, feted, and serenaded like a kind of messiah. In a bid to reclaim his fame as a gladiator, Gilgamesh issued a challenge to Enkidu for them to clash again in a Samson-versus-Hercules affair, this time in a formal wrestling setting and not the impromptu one in which he was routed. Enkidu gleefully accepted the challenge.

It was the most heralded and best-attended wrestling match in Uruk’s history, with some people travelling from neighbouring Sumerian city-states to come and witness the contest first hand. They got their money’s worth:  it was a pulsating and engaging  see-saw match in which both men fought their lungs out. Sadly for Gilgamesh, he was made to tap out in surrender once again even after weeks of preparation, with the chant “Enkidu! Enkidu!” rending the air: as always, the popular Hercules had beaten Samson hands down.

Shortly after the umpire had lifted Enkidu’s hand in triumph, Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s mother, came into the ring and announced that she did not wish Gilgamesh and Enkidu to be foes but the very best of friends. Paying heed, a humbled Gilgamesh walked over to Enkidu, gave him a bear hug, and told him from that day on the two would be inseparable, to which Enkidu nodded heartily and the audience applauded in cheerful acknowledgement. Gilgamesh’s dream of yesteryears had come to pass: it  was the beginning of a Damon and Pythias kind of friendship.
     
GILGAMESH  AGAIN FRETS ABOUT DEATH

Enkidu turned out to be Gilgamesh’s luck-bringer. As time went by and as he matured mentally, he showed “wisdom and broad understanding” and being an everyday companion of Gilgamesh, the latter immensely benefitted from his invariably sage advice. Gilgamesh would over time become known as “The wise one, he who has experienced everything”. Gone now were the days when Gilgamesh made an art of sexually molesting brides and teenage girls thanks to Enkidu’s restraining   influence: once again, he was back in the good graces of his subjects as   an exceedingly popular King,  in fact going on to  become Uruk’s first and only celebrity monarch ever.

We noted last week that like his father Lugalbanda before him, Gilgamesh loved and enjoyed life. He wanted to waltz on Cloud 9 in perpetuity. But there was a catch: there would come a time when he’d grow old and at long last die, leaving this wonderful world  behind. But why should he die? The question began to haunt him again just as it did when he saw Utu-Shamash about it last time around.  He wasn’t an ordinary human being: he was at least two-thirds Anunnaki, almost a full-fledged god and gods never died. Surely, with so much Anunnaki blood in him, he was deserving of immortality wasn’t he?  Why should he “peer over the wall” (ancient metaphor for “dying”) like an ordinary mortal?

     Thus plagued non-stop by the death conundrum, this time Gilgamesh decided to approach   his mother Ninsun, rather than Uncle Shamash, to seek clarity on the matter and to find out from her whether it was possible for him to retain eternal youth.
     “Mum,” he said, “I am about three-quarters god. Gods don’t die. Why therefore should I be fated to die? Why can’t I live forever like you do?”

     “Well son,” Ninsun answered, “You too could live as long as we do. All you need to do is travel to the Celestial Eden (planet Nibiru) and stay there for at least one full shar. The secret to our longevity lies in the long orbital period of our planet. You want to live forever son? Come to our planet: join us there.”   

     “Wait a minute Mum,” Gilgamesh said.  “I am told that Ziusudra (Noah), the Hero of the Deluge, didn’t go to Heaven (Nibiru) but he’s still alive. He lives somewhere around the Land of Mines (Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula, the site of the spaceport) with his wife in total bliss. I don’t need to go to Heaven to live forever like Ziusudra do  I?”

     “His is a special case son,” Ninsun replied. “As you say, he was the hero of the Deluge. He did something really extraordinary to merit that idyllic situation in which he finds himself.”
     “Suppose I wish to travel to Heaven, what do I need to get there?”

     “You will need a Fiery Stone we call a shem (rocketship). And since you cannot pilot a shem, you will need Eagles (astronauts) to take you there.  Only at Tilmun are Eagles and shems found. However, it is unlikely that Shamash, who is in charge of Tilmun, would give you the green light to venture to Tilmun and proceed to our planet.”  

     “Why not Mum?” Gilgamesh wondered aloud. “Adapa was taken to Heaven. So was  Enoch and so was Etana. All these were demigods like I am. So why can’t I be taken to Heaven too?”
     “I am afraid those questions can best be answered by the likes of Enlil and Shamash son,” Ninsun regretted. “Much as I’d love you to  travel to my planet and acquire immortality,  my hands are tied: there’s utterly nothing I can do. I’m a goddess all right but I’m insignificant in the greater scheme of things. I’m not even among the Pantheon of the Twelve great gods and goddesses. In fact, we goddesses hardly have any sway over the agenda for this planet and its people: it’s the gods who call the shots.”

ENKIDU  TIPS GILGAMESH ABOUT “ABODE OF GODS”

As Gilgamesh and Enkidu bonded, they confided in each other their secrets as well as their most pressing   preoccupations of mind. On the part of Gilgamesh, his major obsessions still were his fear of death and the implication of the Handiwork of Anu, the rocket booster he encountered in his dream. Gilgamesh told Enkidu about his mum’s interpretation of the dream, which had already been fulfilled in the person of Enkidu, and his own  – that it was King Anu’s way of inviting him to the “Divine Abode”(Nibiru) to gain immortality and that it was essential that he honours the Heavenly Father’s wish. All he needed was access to a shem. “O Enkidu,  even the mighty wither;  they meet the fated end,” he lamented of the human condition. “Even the tallest man (metaphor for a human being like him who had a lot of Anunnaki blood in him) cannot stretch to Heaven (go to Nibiru).”

The emotion Gilgamesh showed as he uttered these words moved Enkidu. “The eyes of Enkidu filled with tears, ill was his heart, bitterly he sighed,” the Sumerian records relate. Once both men had regained their calm, Enkidu at first seemed to concur with his best friend’s view of the fate of a human  being. “Who, my friend, can scale Heaven?" he paused a rhetorical question. “Only the gods, by going to the underground place of Shamash. Mankind's days are numbered; whatever they achieve is but the wind.”

Enkidu then proceeded to relate the snippets he had picked up whilst he was under the tutelage of Enki, that there was a place on Earth where Gilgamesh could access a shem. This place, which  was overseen by Shamash and was known as the Abode of the Gods, was located somewhere in the Cedar Mountains. But since it was a foregone conclusion that the gods would never permit Gilgamesh to  venture there, the only way to do so was to force his way there.

Enkidu, however, was not exactly spot-on. He was talking about Baalbek, the Landing Place, but Baalbek was not the spaceport proper: it was the Heathrow Airport of the day.  The spaceport proper was at Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula. The mix-up was understandable since Enkidu wasn’t that conversant in these matters. What he said nevertheless did  ring a bell to Gilgamesh: he too had heard about the Land of the Living located not very far from the  Land of Mines (Tilmun) where Noah, his wife and other  consecrated Earthlings  lived happily ever after  in eternal youth. “It is the abode of the forefathers who by the great gods with the Purifying Waters were anointed,” he explained to Enkidu. “There, partaking of the food and beverage of the gods, have been residing princes born to the crown who had ruled the land in days of yore. Like Anu and Enlil, spiced meats they are served; from waterskins, cool water to them is poured.”

There was a chance, Gilgamesh reasoned,  that the Land of the Living and the Abode of the Gods Enkidu was talking about were one and the same given that the Anunnaki were notoriously tight-lipped about these matters: they just never talked about them for fear of triggering a Paradise-bound stampede from Earthlings. Thus both Baalbek and Tilmun were largely received as legends by the greater majority of Earthlings.

Roused by the Enkidu cue, Gilgamesh decided there and then that he must undertake a daredevil’s journey to the “underground place of Shamash” in the Cedar Mountain so as to “scale Heaven” in the manner the gods did come what may.  “The Land I will  enter. I will  set up my shem. In the place where the shems have been raised up, I a shem I will  raise up.” Gilgamesh put it to Enkidu that even if he perishes in the enterprise, he will have made history anyway. “Should I fall, ‘Gilgamesh against fierce Huwawa had fallen' they will say long after my offspring will be born.” But before he set out on this adventure, it was imperative that Gilgamesh take soundings with the Council of the Elders, the King of Uruk’s highest advisory organ.

ENKIDU WARNS OF ONE-EYED “HUWAWA”

Gilgamesh was just about to call an assembly of the elders when Enkidu stopped him in his tracks. “You know what buddy?” he said as he clasped the great Uruk King’s hand in his. “Let me go check out the Abode of the Gods before you do so that if there are any snares or perils of sorts, you get to know them in advance.  Let me go ahead of you. Let your mouth say to me, ‘Advance Enkidu: fear not’.”

The idea was appealing but Gilgamesh was reluctant to countenance it. It didn’t seem right to throw his best friend into the breach, to use him as cannon fodder. What if something sinister happened to him?  Enkidu, however, was so insistent Gilgamesh at long last caved in.  When he set off, Enkidu was not all alone: he was with a retinue of auxiliary men who were armed to the teeth. And for every day Enkidu was away, Gilgamesh kept an eye out for his safe return.

About a month later, Enkidu was back and in one piece. But he didn’t have particularly good news. He reported that the Cedar Mountain was not easy to breach as it was guarded by a seemingly invincible monstrous creature known as Huwawa, whose principal brief was to keep humans from foolhardily scaling the mountain and stealing into the Abode of the Gods.  Huwawa, said Enkidu, was a “feared monster with the fiery Killer Beam that shoots out from its forehead”. Enkidu also made mention of “weapon-trees that kill”. He said, “I went down into its (the Cedar Mountain) midst. For many leagues extends the forest. The place is guarded by the Cedar Forest's watcher.

The Fiery Warrior is a mighty, never resting guardian artfully created by Enlil, a siege engine whose mouth is fire, whose breath is death, whose roaring is a flood-storm.  The monster's name is Huwawa. As a terror to mortals Enlil has appointed him. And no one can even come near him, for at sixty leagues (330 km) he can hear the wild cows of the forest.”

Exactly who was Huwawa and “weapon-trees that kill”?  From the way he is described, he clearly was not flesh and blood. He was one of a mechanical “race” of cyborgs – sophisticated robotic creatures installed under the aegis of Enlil. Huwawa was programmed to pick up the thermal (infra-red) image of an Earthling as he approached the Cedar Mountains and obliterate him with a Killer Beam, that is, a fatal laser beam, that shot out from the middle of his brow. The “weapon-trees that kill” were tall, upright, laser-equipped remote-controlled surveillance masts that were disguised as trees.  

In Huwawa, also spelt Hwahwa, can be detected an echo of Cyclops, in Greek and Roman mythology  a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the centre of his forehead. The equivalent of Huwawa in Setswana is gu-gu, meaning a “nondescript creature”. In African lore, a scary, nondescript creature which preys on mankind in one way or the other is variously known as a demon, ghost, apparition, or vampire.  In Zambia’s most dominant language, Bemba, a ghost is referred to as a wa without determinatives, or ici-wa (literally “fallen creature”) with a singular determinative. This nomenclature no doubt stems from the Sumerians’  Huwawa. Just as Huwawa was conceived and commissioned as an enemy of mankind, ghosts are also believed to be enemy tormentors/killers  of mankind.  

GILGAMESH SEEKS UTU’S BLESSINGS

Once again, Gilgamesh decided to announce  his intended mission to the Council of Elders and hear their take.  Naturally, they were alarmed at their king’s certain encounter with the death-dealing Huwawa. “We hear that Huwawa is wondrously built,” they voiced their anxiety. “Who is there to face his weapons? Unequal struggle it is with the siege-engine Huwawa.”

A doggedly determined  Gilgamesh assured them that he could take care of himself in the face of Huwawa and that in any case, he was ready to die in his quest to attain immortality. Noting that their great King just would not budge, they proceeded to render him some piece of advice – that he obtains the consent and protection of Shamash before he set out on the journey. “If the Land thou wish to enter,  inform Utu. Inform Utu, the hero Utu! The Land, it is in Utu's charge. The Land which with the cedars is aligned, it is the hero Utu's charge. Inform Utu! Let Shamash grant thee thy desire: what thy mouth hath spoken, let him show thine eyes. May he open for thee the barred path, the road unclose for thy treading, the mountain unclose for thy foot.”

The King duly hearkened to the advice of the elders. He made a sacrifice to Shamash as was the custom before a mortal saw a god. Then entering the god’s presence and led by a high priest,  the King intoned thus on his knees: “O Utu, my hands are raised in prayer. Bring me to the landing place. The Land which with the cool cedars is aligned I wish to enter, be thou my ally:  let me go, O Shamash! To the Landing Place give command … Establish over me your protection!  Let me enter the Land. Let me set up my shem. In the places where the shems are raised up, let me raise my own shem. Be thou my ally! By the life of my goddess mother who bore me, my step direct to the Land.” Would Shamash heed the desperate King’s prayer?

NEXT WEEK:  THE QUEST FOR A “SHEM”

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!