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Tragic King Tut

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Ill-fated Moses’  son succeeds to throne after short-lived rule by Aaron

At the time Moses was Pharaoh of Egypt, was his grandfather Joseph alive? He most likely, or almost certainly, was.  The Bible says Joseph was 110 years old when he died, but that is just a symbolic number.  It simply was a reflection of Egyptian tradition, from whose annals the Genesis casually extracted the number. In his book, CHRISTIANITY, AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION, Ahmed Osman puts the number 110 in context as follows:

“As the average age to which people lived at the time was about 30, Ancient Egyptians considered old age to be a sign of wisdom, and those who attained long life were looked upon as holy figures. Both Joseph (of the Bible) and Yuya (Joseph in Egyptian records) were considered wise by Pharaoh. Of Joseph, he said: ‘There is none as discreet and wise as thou art’ (GENESIS 41:39). Yuya is also described on his funerary papyrus as ‘the only wise, who loves his god’.

The age Egyptians ascribed to those who lived to be wise was 110, irrespective of how old they actually were when they died. Amenhotep, son of Habu, an Egyptian magician in Yuya's time, was said to have lived 110 years although the last information we have about him puts his age at 80.”

Grafton Elliot Smith, the British anatomist who examined Joseph’s embalmed and well-preserved remains in 1905,  put his age at the time of his death at about 60. Smith could venture a reasonable guess because the body was in such good condition that it was like Joseph had died only a few days before. But Smith was quick to add the disclaimer that,  “it must be understood that the mention of such a figure is little more than guesswork”.

Smith’s caution was spot-on. For if we are to go by Egyptian records, Joseph was well beyond 60 when he died but no more than 75 years old at most. The one piece of instructive information scholars have overlooked is an inscription that was found once on Joseph’s royal funeral statuette and more than 20 times on his funerary papyrus. It says, “Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands”. WHAT THIS STATEMENT SUGGESTS  IS THAT AT THE TIME JOSEPH DIED, HE WAS  A PARENT TO THE REIGNING PHARAOH. The term “Two Lands” was an epithet for Egypt (as it comprised of Upper and Lower Egypt) and pharaohs were referred to as Lord.  Was Joseph a father to a pharaoh?

YES HE WAS. HIS SECOND-BORN SON EPHRAIM (Aye to the Egyptians)  DID BECOME PHARAOH ALRIGHT, THE FOURTH FROM MOSES.  With this piece of the jigsaw puzzle in place, we’re now in position to reckon the approximate age at which Joseph died. He  was taken to  Egypt when he was 17 and thirteen years later, at age 30, he became viceroy to Pharaoh Tuthmosis IV. The pharaoh Joseph found in office was therefore Tuthmosis IV’s predecessor, Amenhotep II, who  ruled for 23 years.

We don’t know for sure  when Tuthmosis became King, but we know he ruled for  about 10 years, so that when his successor Amenhotep III took over, Joseph was 40 years old. Moses, who succeeded Amenhotep III, was in power for 17 years, by which time Joseph was 57 years old. The next 3 pharaohs after Moses (all four of whom are referred to as the Armana Kings by Egyptologists)  ruled for a total of 16 years. Ephraim, the very last of the Armana Kings, was in power for only 4 years.

Since Joseph died during the rule of Ephraim, he couldn’t have been more than 73 years old whilst on his death bed. The long and  short of the story is therefore that Joseph was alive when Moses was pharaoh and he must have agonized to see his grandson being forced to quit the thronal seat of the world’s most powerful country of the day.

JOSEPH BURIED IN ROYAL GRAVE

When Joseph died, he was embalmed, or mummified, meaning his body was chemically preserved to guard against  wasting away by way of decomposition, so that even when his  body was unearthed in   1905, it looked as though he had been buried less than a week prior. Mummification was a lengthy,  painstaking process.  In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote that it took 70 days altogether, with 40  of these days dedicated to dehydration of the body. Furthermore, mummification was a very expensive undertaking. As such, only royals, initially, and nobles later, could afford it.  At some stage, well-heeled ordinary people were able to embalm their dead too.

Why was mummification deemed necessary? Writes Ahmed Osman: “From their earliest times, the Egyptians tried to preserve human as well as animal bodies after death. They believed that the spiritual element in a person leaves the body at the time of death, but would one day return provided that the body had not been destroyed. It was because of this belief that, from the early days of the Old Kingdom, they worked at developing the techniques of mummification.”

The Bible and Egyptian archives are in accord that Joseph was embalmed. Having so affirmed, the Bible then shoots itself in the foot: it says that Joseph was buried in Shechem in Canaan and that what was carried to Canaan were mere “bones” (JOSHUA 24: 32).  Both these are blatant lies. We know that Joseph was buried in Egypt, in the Valley of Kings: that is incontrovertible truth since that was where the body was found.

As for the aspect of “bones”, it is clear  the Jewish scribe who wrote the passage was totally ignorant of what mummification entailed. When a body is mummified, it does not reduce to bare bones: it looks like that of a full-bodied person simply asleep, with the skin and all external features as intact, for the most part,  as they were on the day he died. The biblical editors without shame or scruple concocted the  story of Joseph being buried in Canaan simply because they did not like the idea that the Patriarch was still buried in the land of the oppressors when the Exodus had become the cornerstone in the new religion of the Jews.

Now, if convention had been followed, Joseph would have been buried in the Valley of the Nobles. In his case, however, convention was flouted and he was buried in the Valley of Kings, the only non-royal  to be accorded such a privilege. The reason of course had to do with  the fact that he was practically co-Pharaoh under two Pharaohs (Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep III) and that he died during the reign of his own son Pharaoh Ephraim.

It was Ephraim  who must have insisted,  against the objections of the conservative Egyptian establishment,  that his father be given such a dignified burial. The Valley of Kings tomb typically was the preserve of the Pharaoh, the Queen, princes, and princesses. Joseph’s wife Tuya was also buried alongside him in the Valley of Kings.

Amongst the items Joseph  was buried with were a golden necklace of lapis lazuli, given him by Thutmosis IV, and a chariot to commemorate his status as Commander of the Chariotry, the horse mounted branch of the Egyptian army. “It was the custom in ancient Egypt,” writes Osman,  “to place in a tomb objects that had a special significance in the life of the dead person.

This particular chariot is too small to have been Yuya's, yet too big to have been a model. It is possible that it belonged originally to Tuthmosis IV when he  was the young crown prince or to the young Amenhotep III, who was only about 12 when he came to the throne. This would explain why, although ornamented in gold, it was not inscribed.”

MOSES’ HEIR IS KING

Following the forced abdication of Moses, he was, as we saw last week, succeeded by his maternal cousin Aaron, or Smenkhkare to the Egyptians. Aaron, however, was simply holding fort for Moses’ heir, Tutankhaten,    so that he ruled for only three years, whereupon Tutankhaten took over at only age 13, the teenage threshold. Let us at this juncture put Tutankhaten, who is generally referred to as King Tut,  in perspective.

Moses had two prominent wives. They were Nefertiti, the “Great Royal  Wife”,  and her deputy (also known as the “Younger Lady”) Mery-Khiba,  meaning “Beloved of Khiba”. The name Khiba (pronounced Kiya) came from her mother’s side, her mother being Gilukhipa, Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s third wife. Gilukhipa was a princess, the daughter of King Shutana of Mitanni. Khiba (most likely Ninmah, as the Anunnaki deities went by different names in different  parts of the world) was a Mitannian  goddess.  Mery-Khiba, it turns out, was Moses’ half-sister.  

That she was called Mery-Khiba is not simply a nominal  style. She was described as the “Royal Favourite” in  that she did for Moses what Nefertiti failed to do – produce a heir for him. Nefertiti only had daughters, six in all, namely Merytaten, Maketaten, Ankhsenpa-aten, Neferneferu-aten the younger, Neferneferure and Setepenre.  As important, Mery-Khiba had a dual royal legacy being  an offspring of Egyptian and Mesopotamian kings.

Towards the end of Moses’ rule, Mery-Khiba had practically supplanted Nefertiti as the main wife in terms of the roles, both civil and political,  she played  in the affairs of Egypt. Her official title was Mery-Amon, meaning “Beloved of Amon”, that is, Marduk, the national god of Egypt. IN THE BIBLE, MERY-AMON IS PRONOUNCED AND SPELT AS MIRIAM. The Bible correctly describes Miriam as Moses’ sister; what it deliberately omits to make mention of is the fact that Miriam was at once a half-sister of Moses and his wife.

Moses had two children with Miriam, a boy and a girl.  The boy, the heir, was known as Tutankhaten, which demonstrates the centrality of the Cult of the Aten in his father Moses’ code of values. Scholars have interpreted his name as “Living Image of Aten” but they are only partially right as far as  I am concerned. Tut was the abbreviation for Thoth, the Anunnaki god of life (that is, master geneticist) alongside his father Enki. The Ankh was the Egyptian symbol of life.

Aten was Nibiru, the planet of eternal life. Thus the name Tutankhaten stressed the link between temporal life and the afterlife, with Tut himself being the Saviour – the human agent of eternal life. There was nothing peculiar about this denomination  as all Egyptian princes were referred to as “Son of God” and pharaohs were referred to as “God” in that they were deemed to be the everyday representatives of Marduk.  

Tut was born in the 7th year of Moses’ reign and therefore was 10 years old when Moses was ousted.  In order to bridge dynastic politics, Tut married his half-sister Ankhsenpa-aten, Moses’ third daughter with Nefertiti. For the first four years, largely,  of his reign, Tut ruled from Amarna. Then sometime in year 4, he moved to Memphis and finally to Thebes. HIS RELOCATION TO THEBES WAS MARKED BY A NAME CHANGE – FROM TUTANKHATEN TO TUTANKHAMUN, MEANING “LIVING IMAGE OF AMON”.  The name change had far-reaching religious ramifications which  ultimately led to his own death.

KING TUT RESTORES FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

Young Tut was pharaoh in name only: the real ruler of Egypt was Ephraim, his  paternal great-uncle, the second son of Joseph, who was acknowledged as the most powerful man in the Egypt of the day.  Ephraim not only was Tut’s vizier and principal adviser but he was head of the armed forces as his titles Commander of the Chariots, Master of the King's Horses,  and Chief of the Bowmen plainly attest.

Ephraim made it clear  to Tut that if he too adhered to and accentuated the Cult of the Aten, the ideologically powerful Theban priesthood would orchestrate his overthrow, just as they did  in the case of his father Moses.  Tut wasted no time in paying heed to his great uncle’s exhortation.

Tut’s reverse reforms – which went against the grain of his deposed father’s – began as early as his third year in power. He reopened all the Amunite temples  Moses had closed, thus restoring polytheism – the worship of multiple gods. But he did not prohibit the cult of the Aten: instead, he subtly  elevated Aten.  He said he had allowed the worship of other gods because they all were mediators  between mankind and Aten, Aten being, as we have already discussed, the planet Nibiru, the headquarters, as it was believed, of the universe. That’s how the plural term “gods” came to mean angels  

That Tut had not entirely sidelined Aten was evidenced by  the scenes on the back panel of his throne, where the symbol of the Aten took pride of place. Also, a text on the furniture found in his tomb  describes him as “the eldest son of the Aten in Heaven”. With old temples reopened, the Theban priesthood reinstated to their influential status, the capital moved back to Thebes and both  the King and Queen having changed their names to exalt the national god Marduk, religio-politico morale in the country was at its zenith.

The Theban priests in fact welcomed Tut to Thebes by conducting a new coronation of him. However, it was not Tut who got the credit for this reversion to the status quo: it was General Ephraim, who touted himself as the saviour of both  the army and the temple. However, Ephraim was not held in particularly high esteem  by the traditional-mined mainstream Egyptians.

Many suspected him, wrongly, for having   engineered the ouster of Moses. Thus they continued to refer to Moses (Akhenaten) as the “Royal Mosis”, literally meaning, “Royal Son” but “Real King” in paraphrase. It was the term “Mosis” (Moses)  the Bible settled for as the appropriate name for Akhenaten with a view to concealing his epic as an Egyptian King.   

KING TUT’S VIOLENT DEATH AT TENDER AGE

Tut was not destined to rule for a long time, let alone enjoy length of years. He died in the 9th year of his reign, aged 21 years. His mysterious death has been the subject of speculation on the part of scholars. What is clear is that he died a callously slow, drawn-out violent death. He was exposed to severe physical torture before he was hanged. What sin did he commit? Who exactly murdered him and in what circumstances? We may never know.

Typically though, such  grisly deaths are suffered at the hands of die-hard  enemies within the establishment itself. It would  be a stretch  to say  his death was engineered by his own great-uncle, Ephraim, who was in charge of the armed forces.  But Ephraim, even if he  maniacally craved power, would not have had his own nephew  killed in such a barbaric and cruel way. The people who must  have killed  Tut were patriotic and conservative elements within the army, who abhorred rulership by the Josephite dynasty, who were technically Hyksos and not indigenous, full-blooded  Egyptians.      

Tut’s mummy, recovered from the Theban Valley of Kings, was minutely examined by R G Harrison, a professor of anatomy at Liverpool University, and A B Abdalla, his counterpart at Cairo University, in 1968. The examination included the taking of X-rays. The duo in part reported thus:

“When the bandages around the remains were removed, it was immediately obvious that the mummy was not in one piece. The head and neck were separated from the rest of the body, and the limbs had been detached from the torso … Further investigation showed that the limbs were broken in many places as well as being detached from the body.

The right arm had been broken at the elbow, the upper arm being separated from the forearm and hand …  The left arm was broken at the elbow, and in addition at the wrist …  The left leg was broken at the knee. The right leg was intact …  The heads of the right humerus [bone of the upper arm] and both femora [thigh bone] had been broken off the remains of the bone … The head and neck had been distracted from the torso at the joint between the seventh cervical and first thoracic vertebrae.

The tissues of the face are contracted on the skull so that the cheekbones appear very prominent …  The teeth are tightly clenched together (from excruciating pain obviously)  … The radiographs of the thorax confirmed the fact that the sternum and most of the ribs on the front of the chest had been removed.” The youthful King, a juvenile basically, was killed like a beast of prey by savages who passed themselves off as civilised humans. This Earth, My Brother …

NEXT WEEK:   PHARAOH OF THE OPPRESSION ASSUMES THE REINS

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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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