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Egypt Under Joseph

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

His accomplishments as Co-Pharaoh

Knowing as we do that Joseph was not an original name (we don’t know what his original name was), exactly how did a man who was called Yuya in Egypt come to be called Joseph in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), particularly that Joseph was not a Jewish name?  It appears that at least in this instance, the Genesis writers knew what they were talking about as they got the name dead right!

Both biblical and extra-biblical sources inform us that upon being made viceroy, Yuya was given a new, evocative name by the incumbent pharaoh. This was Zaphnath-Pa-Neah. It was a descriptive name meaning “Time of God, May He Live”.  Paraphrased, the message in the name was, “May God Shine in This Man’s Time”.  But it is the first syllable, Zaph, that is of particular interest. In the Egyptian spelling, this was “Seph” or “Sef”, meaning “time”.

So what did the Hebrews do? They combined “Yu”, the first syllable of the name Yuya, with “Seph” to form “Yu-Seph”,   or Joseph (pronounced “Yahewseph” in the Bible).  “Yu” was simply the shorter form of  “Yahweh”,  the generic name by which the Jews’ Enlilite gods  went. (Note that the Old Testament was written in the 6th century BC, by which time the Jews referred to their god as Yahweh.)  Thus the name Joseph as interpreted by the Jews meant “Yahweh’s Time”, which is basically the same as its rendering in Egyptian.

In another vein, the name Joseph also meant “Son of God”. One other meaning of the Egyptian term “sef” was “boy” or “son”. In this context though, Joseph was the son not of the Anunnaki god Yahweh but of  Egypt’s national god Marduk. This equated him to a pharaoh as all pharaohs were designated sons of the god Marduk, the reason why at least one of their throne names had to carry the name Ra, or Re, that being a component of Amen-Ra, the name by which Marduk was known  in Egypt. As we have already showcased, Joseph was for  all practical purposes a joint king with Pharaoh Thutmosis IV.  

The Egyptian writer Manetho confirms that the pharaoh Amenhotep III, Tuthmosis IV’s successor, did have a super minister called “Seph”.    And rummaging through ancient Egyptian historical archives, we find that the name Seph was actually a common one and was borne by both males and females.   

JOSEPH DWELT IN KING’S PALACE

The many titles the pharaoh conferred on Joseph included “Bearer of the Seal of the King of Lower (northern) Egypt;  "Bearer of the Ring of the King of Lower Egypt”; “Adjutant (Deputy) of His Majesty in the Chariotry”; “Him Whom the King has Made his Double”; “First Among the King’s Companions”; “Mouth of the King of Lower Egypt”; “Ears of the King of Lower Egypt”; “Mouth of the King of Upper (southern) Egypt”; “Master of the Horses”; “Royal Keeper of the Grain”; “Overseer of the Cattle of Min”; and “Lord of Ahkmin”.

As Master of the Horses and Adjutant of His Majesty in the Chariotry, Joseph commanded his own branch of the armed forces – the Chariotry, which waged horse-mounted  war. He was the first person in the history of Egypt to be entrusted such a responsibility. By dint of this same portfolio, he always rode in the second chariot after that of the pharaoh on ceremonial occasions. Perhaps to underscore that he once held this highly momentous position, Joseph was upon his death entombed with a miniature chariot.

At Joseph’s investiture ceremony, which was to all intents and purposes a coronation ceremony, the pharaoh presented him with three insignias of office. The first was a signet ring, which the pharaoh had all along won on his own finger. As such, the ring literally represented a transfer of power, suggesting a symbolic abdication on the part of the pharaoh in deference to Joseph.  The ring conformed to Joseph’s two titles of “Bearer of the Seal of the King of Lower Egypt” and "Bearer of the Ring of the King of Lower Egypt”. 

The second was a necklace of large beads of gold and Lapis Lazuli and the third was a set of royal robes of “fine linen”.   Whereas the gold necklace was found on his mummified body, the ring was not: apparently it had been stolen by grave robbers. Ecstatic at seeing him lap up all these trappings of power and glory, the priests of Heliopolis, Joseph’s most ardent champions, stopped just short of dancing a jig. They nicknamed him Sobekemsaf, which was a title of the pharaoh himself as if to say he was indeed “Him Who The King Made His Equal”.   

Now, since Joseph was practically a joint-Pharaoh, he was not allowed to live in his own posh residence:  being the King’s conscience, the two had to live cheek by jaw. Thus Joseph was accommodated in a section of the royal residence itself. His wife Tuya served the Queen as a butler, nanny, and lady-in-waiting, her official title being “The King’s Ornament”.   Tuya also served purely religious roles for the Anunnaki gods of Egypt. She was Singer of the Hathor (Ninmah, who though neither an Enkite nor  Enlilite was highly regarded by the Egyptians for her tenderness and her indefatigable efforts to reconcile the two clans); the Chief Entertainer (musically) of the gods Marduk and Horus; and Superintendant of the Harem (a bevy of mistresses) of Marduk in Thebes and Horus in Ahkmin.  

JOSEPH TOPS “THE FORBES RICH LIST”

In those days when people in power had carte blanche to enrich themselves from national coffers (not by theft but by official entitlement), Joseph became one of the wealthiest people on the globe, in keeping with  one of his titles which said “One Made Rich by the King of Lower Egypt”. He is said to have controlled over 20 percent of Egypt’s GNP. The portfolio that brought about these riches was that of Royal Keeper of the Grain Stores.

Since the great flood of Noah’s day, when north Africa began to turn into a desert, the river Nile has always been Egypt’s lifeline. Like most rivers, the Nile has its peaks and troughs: it swells with water during the rainy season (it originates in the more rain-abundant tropics, in Ethiopia and Sudan). But the Nile has had another age-old rainfall cycle that occurs in seven-year periods at its sources. In one such period, it experiences a heavy rainfall pattern and in the next seven-year period it is plagued by low rainfall, and so forth and so on. The grain harvest mirrored this climatic pattern:  seven years of abundance were always followed by seven “lean” years.

According to the Famine Stela, a hieroglyphical inscription into a natural granite cliff on Sehel Island in Egypt which tells of a seven-year period of drought and famine during the reign of Pharaoh Djoser of the Third Dynasty, people were in dire straits during this harsh cycle of the Nile. “Grain was scant, kernels were dried up. Scarce was every kind of food. Temples were shut, shrines covered in dust. Everyone was in distress.” Talking of a similar situation in the time of Joseph, the Bible says the famished populace would match on the palace to plead with their king to do something to get them out of their predicament. “And the dearth was in all lands … And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread.”

Joseph was tasked with balancing out the availability of grain in Egyptian silos. He was in one way  or the other expected to turn the lean years into abundant years too so that the nation was consistently catered for foodwise. Thus Joseph’s first seven years, which coincided with the abundant cycle, was dedicated to stockpiling. Joseph made maximum use of this situation to amass a fortune for himself. Exactly how?

Writes Ralph Ellis in his phenomenally insightful book Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs: “Joseph had been stockpiling grain for years (during the bountiful seven years). As the famine worsened (during the harsh seven years), he began to sell this grain back to the people for the profit of the pharaoh. After a while, people had no more money to buy grain, so they sold their sacred cattle that they would not eat. Joseph bought them all and fed his people well.

Next, the people of Egypt came to Joseph and sold their land to him to pay for grain until all the land of Egypt belonged to pharaoh and Joseph. When the floods at last returned to the land, Joseph said to the people: here is seed corn for you, and ye shall sow the land. But in return you shall give one fifth part unto pharaoh and keep four fifths for your family. And they said; thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in your sight, and we will be pharaoh’s servants.

And Joseph smiled, knowing that he was the saviour of all of Egypt and, in addition, he would receive a 20 per cent return on all his investments and become the richest man in the world.” If there was such a thing as the Forbes Rich List in Joseph’s day, he would have  shot right to the first slot just in his thirties!

JOSEPH’S STUNNING CIVIL ENGINEERING FEAT

In order to ensure that there was sufficient grain at all times in Egypt, Joseph came up with  a most ingenious idea. There was at a place 60 miles south of Memphis a natural depression which he intended to turn into a lake with full-capacity water all-year-round. This feature, which was practically in the middle of the desert, was known as Qarun. Joseph decided to construct an artificial waterway that would link Qarun to the Nile River over a distance of about 30 miles and which would facilitate year-long irrigation.

The pharaoh of course acceded to the idea coming from the genius that was his No.2, but when  Joseph’s two viziers were told of it,  they, in a bid to undermine him, got the pharaoh to prescribe a rather tight time scale for the project. He was to complete it within a thousand days, or roughly 33 months, a significant Masonic number.

If the green-eyed viziers thought he would fail and so lose a bit of face in the eyes of the pharaoh, they were totally mistaken. Joseph dug feeder canals and created the artificial lake in the stipulated time period with a week or so  to spare. It was such a stunning feat that the place where Qarun was located became known as Alf Yum (or Fayyum), meaning “The Place of the Thousand Days”. Alf Yum became the bread basket of the whole of Egypt, noted not only for grain production but also for fresh vegetables, fruit, and fish.

The Qarun depression was in fact two lakes in one – the smaller Lake Keroun and the larger Lake Moeris, named after the reigning pharaoh. Moeris is the Greek rendition of the name of an Egyptian pharaoh. The Greek historian-geographer Herodotus wrote of a huge lake that was formed artificially in the time of “Pharaoh Moeris”. The lake had a circumference of 400 miles, equivalent to the entire length of Egypt along the sea coast. It is not easy to assign the name Moeris to a particular pharaoh since pharaohs had several throne names but since Joseph thrived in the time of Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III, Moeris may be one of these two. As for the waterway itself, even today it is known as Bahr Yousof in Arabic, meaning “The Waterway of Joseph”.

JOSEPH MILITARILY RESCUES A NATION IN DISTRESS

As head of the Chariotry, the horse-mounted branch of the Egyptian army, Joseph was a formidable general. We don’t know exactly how many campaigns Joseph took part in but these must have been very few in that Pharaoh Tuthmosis IV and his successor Amenhotep III were not particularly belligerent kings having entered into many peace accords with foreign nations. But at least one campaign headed by Joseph is documented in the apocryphal Book of Jasher.

     The war pitted Egyptians against the Tarshishites. The Tarshishites were from the state of Cilicia, in modern-day Turkey. For years, they had made the lives of the much smaller, populationwise,  and therefore weaker Ishmaelites a total misery. It was the latter who called upon the pharaoh to help get them out of their predicament. The Book of Jasher relates the story as follows:

“At that time the children of Tarshish came against the sons of Ishmael, and made war with them, and the children of Tarshish spoiled the Ishmaelites for a long time. And the children of Ishmael were small in number in those days, and they could not prevail over the children of Tarshish, and they were sorely oppressed. And the old men of the Ishmaelites sent a record to the king of Egypt, saying, send I pray thee unto thy servants officers and hosts to help us to fight against the children of Tarshish, for we have been consuming away for a long time.

And Pharaoh sent Joseph with the mighty men and host which were with him, and also his mighty men from the king's house. And they went to the land of Havilah to the children of Ishmael, to assist them against the children of Tarshish, and the children of Ishmael fought with the children of Tarshish, and Joseph smote the Tarshishites and he subdued all their land, and the children of Ishmael dwell therein unto this day.

And when the land of Tarshish was subdued, all the Tarshishites ran away, and came on the border of their brethren the children of Javan, and Joseph with all his mighty men and host returned to Egypt, not one man of them missing.” It is ironic that the Ishamaelites (Arabs) whose safety the pharaoh of a black nation safeguarded would eons later occupy Egypt and drive its entire black population out of the country. This Earth, My Brother …

WHICH  GOD DID JOSEPH WORSHIP?

Now that Joseph was an Egyptian, which god did he worship?  Did he continue venerating the gods he had worshipped in Canaan, the Enlilites, notably  Jehovah-Enlil, Nannar-Sin, and Ishkur-Adad, or embraced the major Enkite gods such as Enki (called Ptah in Egypt), Marduk, Osiris, and Horus?

That question is not easy to answer. That is because the god one worships publicly is not necessarily the god one worships at heart. We know, for instance, that the overwhelming majority of evangelical churches have today been infiltrated by Satanists, who in public worship Jesus when under cover of darkness they worship Reptilian gods who go under the generic term “Devil”. As for Catholicism, the less said the better: the Vatican and its Pontiff do not have an ounce of spirituality in them.  To cite just one example, every time there is a sting exposure of priests who have sexually abused little boys for ages, all the “Holy Father” says is,  “forgive them: they know not what they are doing”.  

With regard to Joseph, at least on the face of it, one would say he worshipped Enkite gods. At least four of his official titles exalted Enkite gods. They were “Overseer of the Cattle of Min” (Min was Horus primarily); “Prophet of the God Min”; “Overseer of the Cattle of Amun” (Amun, or Amen, was Marduk);  and “Praised of His Lord Amun”.  And as priest of the temple of Heliopolis, a position he later occupied, Joseph was known as Ptah-Seph, meaning “Son of Enki”.

However, the manner in which he was buried, likely according to his wishes, suggests he was in truth not Enkite-oriented. Typically, Egyptian nobles, including pharaohs, were buried with their hands crossed over their chests in homage to the god Osiris, who was said to be the god presiding over the passage of the dead on their way to higher realms of existence.  Joseph, on the other hand, had his palms facing his neck under the chin. His was the only Egyptian mummy to have been buried in that posture.      

Clearly, Joseph may have publicly venerated Enkite gods when deep down he was contemptuous of them. At the same time, if he worshipped Enlilite gods, he must have done so in utmost secrecy. Note that the Jewish population in Egypt did not also worship Enlilite gods. Having lived in Egypt for hundreds of years, most of them worshipped Marduk (who  in Egypt was known as the Apis Bull, meaning Taurean Bull) in the time of Joseph. This aspect was one of the reasons the Enlilites cleverly orchestrated their repatriation to Canaan during the time of Moses.

NEXT WEEK:   JOSEPH’S LEGENDARY GRANDSON IS BORN

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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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