… and this is none other than Jehovah we’re talking about!
There are two diametrically opposed views on human sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible, familiarly known as the Old Testament. The first and the overwhelming view is pro- human sacrifice. The other view rails against human sacrifice. Now, contradictions in the Bible are more the norm than the exception. The reasons are manifold but we will cite only a few.
First, the Bible was not written by a steadfastly like-minded scribal team. It was written by different people who had one general premise but over which they had clashing positions or viewpoints. In some cases, especially in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, several writers contributed to one book, e.g. Deuteronomy, and these writers did not bother overmuch about synchronising the overall drift and orientation of the narrative.
Scholars have identified at least four compound authors of the Pentateuch, who they have dubbed J (because he refers to his god as Jehovah), E (because he uses the plural term Elohim to refer to his god), D (the Deuteronomist) and P (the Priestly scribe). Of course the casual reader will scarcely notice this disaccord, but the scholar who has studied the Bible verse by verse will easily discern this.
Second, the stories we read in the Bible were documented over thousands of years (as fragments of or excerpts from other age-old texts), beginning with the Sumerian records. For instance, the first 25 chapters of Genesis were researched from Mesopotamian records written about 4000 years before Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, was written. The first concerted efforts on the part of the Jews to compile the Hebrew Bible was done in the 7th century BC during the Babylonian captivity.
In the process, the source manuscripts were not left intact: some of the information they contained was edited out by the so-called redactors and perspectives which were deemed palatable with the times were interpolated into them. Third, the gods of the Old Testament as we have long demonstrated were the Anunnaki, Aliens from the Sirian and Orion star systems via the little-known planet of the Solar System known as Nibiru.
The dominant Anunnaki in the Bible are the Enlilites, the clan of Jehovah-Enlil, who until the astrological Age of Aries was Earth’s Chief Executive. The Enlilites were the hawk faction of the Anunnaki ruling pantheon. They were the diabolical faction vis-à-vis mankind. However, even they were not always in one accord. For example, Nannar-Sin, the second-born son of Enlil who later became the Allah of Islam, was the dove in the predominantly hawk faction. He was the only kind Enlilite.
Thus when you read of a god speaking against human sacrifice, rest assured that god is Nannar-Sin. If the Jewish scribes had referred to Anunnaki gods by their own individual names throughout, we would not have such ambiguity. But they used a blanket term, such as Yahweh or Adonai, as a result of which one can only glean an idea of which particular god is being talked about by cross-referencing with the more authoritative Sumerian records.
The gods themselves share the blame for this convoluted state of affairs. In Aries, the Enlilites, as we pointed out in earlier pieces, decided to pose as one unitary god before their chosen people, the Jews, whilst maintaining their individual identities behind the scenes. It explains why they no longer wished to be seen by Earthlings; only to be heard. In the post exilic era (from the time of the Exodus till the waning days of the astrological Age of Aries), the Enlilites were mostly represented by Ishkur-Adad, Enlil’s third-born son, before the Nation of Israel. Adad, as we shall demonstrate in due course, was the cruelest Enlilite after Enlil.
He was responsible for much of the evil perpetrated by “God” in the Old Testament. In the Sumerian records, it was Ninurta and Inanna-Ishtar, Enlil’s granddaughter, who were the prime evils. And the god who committed the world’s best-known and most outrageous act of genocide was Enlil, when he let mankind perish in their millions during the Deluge. This brings us to the matter of human sacrifice and why there are contending views about it in the Hebrew Bible.
There were scribes who thought since human sacrifice was a most egregious evil, it should not be presented as something decreed by God. As such, these scribes inserted passages in the original texts that gave the impression that actually God frowned on human sacrifice. But the more objective scribes were of the view that what the original manuscripts contained should stand irrespective of whether it portrayed God in a negative light. After all, God was God and he did not have to sanitise any extreme measure he took. That, in sum folks, is why you find some verses reporting that God was hooked on human sacrifice and others underscoring God’s condemnation of the act.
When you read the Bible, it is important that you take the bigger picture and not use an isolated incident as the basis of your inference. Focus on the sum total of what is being related to you and not on the contents merely of one verse, one chapter, or even one book. Above all, ensure you augment and buttress your understanding of the Bible with extra-biblical sources. For example, you would never grasp the creation story, that of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the great Flood of Noah’s day without reading the Sumerian chronicles or books on the Sumerian chronicles. You will never know who the gods of the Old Testament exactly were without being acquainted with what the Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets and cylinder seals say about these gods.
ADAD AND NINURTA FRONT-RUNNERS IN THE APPETITE FOR HUMAN FLESH
In the Bible, two gods are particularly associated with human sacrifice. The first goes by the generic name YAHWEH, or Jehovah. We by now know that Yahweh was a cover name, primarily, for the Enlilite godhead, which comprised of five kinsmen, namely Enlil-Jehovah (the father), Ninurta (the firstborn), Nannar-Sin (the secondborn), Ishkur-Adad (the last born), and Utu-Shamash (the grandson). But we also know that in the post-exilic era, the main Yahweh was Ishkur-Adad. Adad was also the meanest and vilest of the Yahwehs and human sacrifice was actually his staple. Needless to say, Adad is one of the two Yahwehs mostly associated with human sacrifice.
Adad’s notoriety for human sacrifice was well-known even in Mesopotamia, in modern-day Iraq. Clay-tablet texts unearthed in Mesopotamia and which have been dated to between the 10th and 7th centuries BC talk of burnt offerings of male children to “the god Adad”. It was Adad who instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son (GENESIS 22:22), though the Hebrew redactors recast the story in such a way that a ram was substituted for Abraham’s son.
Before the Israelites were liberated from Egyptian bondage, Adad demanded that they sacrifice their eldest sons as atonement for his indispensable role in winning their freedom. Once again, the Pentateuch scribes spun the story around to make it appear like it were the Egyptians who lost their sons at the hands of Adad’s “Angel of Death”.
Then at the Mount of the Elohim (Sinai or Horeb in the Bible) in Arabia’s Wilderness of Sin, Adad insisted that he was only going to address the Israelites in person if they made another mass human sacrifice. Given that the firstborn sons had already been sacrificed in Egypt, this time around it were the virgins who must have stepped into the breach. Indeed, EXODUS 19:18 does hint at the Mount Sinai sacrifice. It goes without saying that in the original texts, details to that effect did abound but were removed by later editors.
In Assyria, his main bastion as a god in Babylonian times, Adad was known by several names. One of these was Anammelek (Anu-Malik in the Assyrian language, meaning “chief deity”, which Adad was in Assyria). In 2 KINGS 17:31, we’re told that “the people of Sepharvaim (an Assyrian tribe that was relocated to Samaria after the Israelites were taken into Assyrian captivity) burned their own children as sacrifices to their god Anammelek”. The Anunnaki gods were very clever operators. ONE GOD (E.G. ADAD) WOULD PRESIDE OVER RIVAL NATIONS (E.G. THE ISRAELITIES AND CANAANITES) USING DIFFERENT NAMES AND WOULD EVEN CONDEMN THE PRACTICES OF “THE OTHER GOD” WHEN IN TRUTH HE AND THE OTHER GOD WERE ONE AND THE SAME PERSON.
The other god who was notorious for human sacrifice according to the Old Testament was BAAL-MOLECH, Baal (sometimes spelt Ba-El) simply meaning “The Lord”. Scholars have endlessly groped in the dark in their efforts to identify this god. I yet have to come across a single book or article that crisply nails him: they all make wild guesses. Most of them, brainwashed by the Bible’s Enlilite propaganda, even associate Molech with poor Marduk, a highly benevolent Enkite god was a darling of his direct subjects, notably the Babylonians and Egyptians, and who in the Age of Aries had replaced Jehovah-Enlil as Earth’s Chief Executive.
The Hebrew word translated Molech is actually MLK. This is MELEK when we put in the vowels as ancient Hebrew had no vowels. Originally, the term Melek (MALAK in Hebrew) meant a deputy, king, or emissary. The anglicised version of Melek is MICHAEL. According to the Sumerian records, the Book of Enoch, the Epistle of Jude, and Revelation, Michael was the warring archangel.
IN SUMERIAN RECORDS, THE ARCHANGEL (CHIEF REPRESENTATIVE OF A DEITY) MICHAEL WAS NINURTA, ENLIL-JEHOVAH’S FIRSTBORN SON AND THEREFORE THE HEIR APPARENT. I’m sure by now you know that Ninurta was the Anunnaki’s God of War. It was he who fought and vanquished “the Evil Zu” in an aerial battle and it was he who commanded the Enlilites when they warred against the Enkites in all the Pyramid Wars.
The god Molech, therefore, was Ninurta. He was based on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, and at a place called Topeth in the Valley of Ge-Hinnom (Gehenna) just outside Jerusalem, he superintended over a huge fiery pit in which children were presented to him as a burnt offering. That’s why in the English version of the Bible, Gehenna is translated as “Hell” or “Lake of Fire”. This has nothing to do with an afterlife inferno: it all harps back to the literal hell the place was to the children of Israel.
The sacrificed children were said to have been “passed over” or “passed through” the fire in sacrifice to Molech. THIS IS THE REAL ORIGIN OF THE “PASSOVER” FEAST FOLKS, not the drivel you have been fed by the Pentateuch authors about God’s Angel of Death bypassing the homes of Israelites and zeroing in on those of Egyptians. Since Ninurta was so fixated on human sacrifice, the term Melek over time also assumed the meaning “sacrifice”.
“THE FIRSTBORN OF YOUR SONS YOU SHALL GIVE TO ME”
Human sacrifices were made to the Old Testament gods for any number of reasons. First, they stemmed from a standing order by a god that a human sacrifice be done as and when required. The case of Abraham in relation to his son Isaac in GENESIS 22:2 is one such example. In EXODUS 22:29, Adad makes it clear to the Israelites that, “The firstborn of your sons shall you give to me”.
In LEVITICUS 27:28, Adad emphasises that anything mankind set aside for him, whether this be an animal, agricultural produce, or “man” was not eligible for redemption (that is, could not be substituted for anything else). In EXODUS 22:29-30, Adad says, "The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal”. When it came to which tribe of the Nation of Israel the human sacrifice were to routinely come from, this was the tribe of Levi.
Adad had chosen them as the priestly tribe but there was a price to pay for this privillege: THEY WOULD BE THE MAIN TRIBE FROM WHICH HE WOULD HARVEST HUMAN SACRIFICES. This is what he says to that effect in NUMBERS 3:12-13: “I hereby accept the Levites from among the Israelites as substitutes for all the firstborn that open the womb among the Israelites. The Levites shall be mine, for all the firstborn are mine; when I killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both human and animal; they shall be mine. I am the LORD.”
In some situations, the god decreed a mass sacrifice as a punishment for being offended or somewhat displeasured by his people. For example, in EZEKIEL 20:26 (note: in properly translated versions and not in highly doctored ones such as the NIV and NLT), Adad boasts that he had the Israelites sacrifice their firstborns as burnt offerings to him to demonstrate to them that he was Yahweh who should never be defied! What crime did the Israelites commit?
They sacrificed children they had pledged to him to rival gods instead (EZEKIEL 16:20), who he dismissively denounced as “images”. These rival gods were not Enkites: they were fellow Enlilites but who were distant cousins being the sons of his older brother Nannar-Sin’s children with several concubines. (Sin had more than 80 children, the reason he was known as Aten, in this context meaning “Multiplying God”, in line with the injunction in Genesis that “Be fruitful and multiply”.)
There were cases, however, in which Kings or generals simply sacrificed their own children to kind of incentivise their god to dispense a blessing or simply show gratitude for a triumph in a battle or war. A classic example in this regard is that of Jephtah, an Israel judge (as leaders were called before the advent of King Saul, Israel’s first King) for six years, in JUDGES 11:29-40. This is the vow Jephtah made to Adad as he headed for a battlefield clash with the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
Jephtah did trounce the enemy all right, but guess who should be the first to meet him at the palace gates upon returning from the war? His virgin daughter and the only child. The story is tear-jerking as the ill-fated daughter pleaded with her father to give her a two-month “stay-of-execution” so her friends would have ample time to celebrate her existence and do their farewells.
Jephtah for one was deeply troubled by what had transpired but sadly a promise to a god, and by a leader in particular, was cast in stone: it could not be reversed. Exactly two months later, the poor daughter was delivered to Adad. Whether it was via a furnace or simply on a silver platter the Bible does not say. This Earth My Brother …
SIN’S HUMANE VOICE
Whereas Adad and Ninurta were the veritable vampires what with such a ready appetite for human flesh and human blood, Nannar-Sin was the polar opposite. Every time you hear Yahweh or Jehovah say something that is sober and rational, feel at liberty to assume it is the voice of Sin you were listening to. Remember, although Adad was the main Jehovah of the Exodus, he wasn’t the sole one. Once in a while, Sin took his position too. The Pentateuch authors however attributed every pronouncement by an Enlilite deity to simply one Yahweh, with the result that Yahweh comes across as a god with a split personality not once but multiple times.
Sin frowned upon human sacrifice. So in the following passages, it is either Sin who is talking behind the general façade of Yahweh, or the Jewish redactors themselves put words in Yahweh’s mouth:
DEUTERONOMY 12:31: “You shall not act thus toward Yahweh your Elohim, for every abhorrence which Yahweh hates they perform for their Elohim, for even their sons and their daughters they burn with fire for their Elohim. You shall not act thus toward Yahweh your Elohim, for every abhorrence which Yahweh hates they perform for their Elohim, for EVEN THEIR SONS AND THEIR DAUGHTERS THEY BURN WITH FIRE FOR THEIR ELOHIM.” Here, Sin was warning the Israelites about copying the ways of the Canaanites, who they would co-exist with when they entered Canaan.
DEUTERONOMY 18: 9-10: “When you come to the land that Yahweh your Elohim is giving to you (Canaan), you shall not learn to act according to the abhorrences of those nations (the Canaanites). There shall not be found among you one causing his son or his daughter TO PASS THROUGH FIRE.” In JEREMIAH 19:4-9, Adad promises to severely punish the Israelites for having “built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal”.
This statement should be taken with a pinch of salt. There simply was no way Adad would have punished the Israelites for doing something he himself had instituted. Also, the god he was condemning here was his own brother Ninurta ( Baal-Molech) when the two were birds of the same figure. Clearly, the statement was an interpolation by Jewish scribes.
PSALM 106:48 (my favourite psalm) condemns human sacrifice. The psalms were written by several individual authors who did not have a uniform agenda. PSALM 82, for instance, which was written by a certain Asaph, is in fact a diatribe against the Anunnaki gods for pretending to be God (First Source) when in actual fact they too were mortal and would therefore die someday and be accountable to God. Thus the psalmist who condemned human sacrifice was making a indirect dig at Adad and company.
In 2 KINGS 16:3, King Ahaz of Judah is condemned for sacrificing his own children by way of a fiery furnace. No Jewish King reigned without the sanction of a god. Thus if Ahaz was into human sacrifice, it meant that that pleased his god, to whom the sacrifice was made. Once again, this passage is suspect. The case of King Josiah of Judah is a revelatory one. Josiah, who the Bible describes as a righteous king, did away with human sacrifices and got rid of all the priests who were at the centre of this barbarity (2 KINGS 23:5).
Jehovah (either Adad or Ninurta) bristled at this gesture, which he regarded as “opposing god”(2 CHRONICLES 35:21), and engineered his death in a battle at the tender age of only 38. Human sacrifice was Jehovah’s lifeline: you didn’t tamper with it and get away scotfree.
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 aninflammation 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
Constipation or diarrhoea
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.
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.
Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;
Appendicular mass/abscess– If 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 rises48–72 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:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
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:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org 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.