Take your health seriously – NewsDay Zimbabwe

BY Johannes Marisa
ZIMBABWE now boasts of four medical schools producing well-trained doctors who rival and eclipse peers from many countries around the world. Masvingo will open the Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine and Health Sciences this August, a development that will make the province shine. Vice-Chancellor Rungano Zvobgo and Jacob Mufunda, the Dean of Medicine at the new university deserve special mention.

Government through Education 5.0 continues to make universities hotspots for solutions to problems inhibiting socioeconomic growth as the country aims to achieve middle-income status by 2030. The only challenge threatening to cripple our healthcare sector is brain drain as many healthcare workers leave Zimbabwe for greener pastures. Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand have become havens for Zimbabwe-trained medical professionals. In 2021, more than 1,800 nurses left Zimbabwe for greener pastures. The government should act quickly to stem the brain drain by offering better pay, incentives and other benefits to healthcare workers.

Many people died at the height of COVID-19, and research shows more men have succumbed to the deadly virus than women. June is Men’s Health Month and we expect many men to appreciate their health at a time when the world is still suffering from relentless onslaughts of COVID-19 and monkeypox.

The country is still losing many people, and the amazing thing is that some of the diseases that are wreaking havoc are preventable or their effects can be cured with ease. Men have failed to seek medical help early on in many cases and by the time they present to a doctor it is usually a late stage disease. Many reasons are given for this unfortunate phenomenon. Fear has been a dominant factor as many men are breadwinners and are deterred by the feeling of being presented with unexpected diagnoses.

However, there are some men who have superhero syndrome and still believe they cannot get sick because of their gender. This is an empty argument that has often led to the unexpected deaths of many super-rich people around the world. This is the time for men to realize the importance of their health. It is estimated that many men are always busy in their jobs and as breadwinners always have a desire to make ends meet. Forgetting about your health is not only dangerous, but also persistent.

At the end of June, a special month for men’s health, we should be aware of the common diseases or conditions affecting men worldwide. It is a pity that men seem to be more affected than women, yet it is women who seek medical facilities

It is imperative that everyone take care of themselves, practice good hygiene, exercise, and have routine medical check-ups to stay healthy. The following conditions are very persistent, so keep an eye on them:

  • Heart disease – The leading cause of death each year, and in 2019 approximately 18.6 million people died from heart problems worldwide. COVID-19 has struck nearly seven million people over the past two and a half years. This shows the catastrophic nature of heart disease.
  • Cancers are notorious and the most important of these are lung, prostate, colon and breast cancers, which claim millions of lives each year. There is an urgent need for routine screening, including blood work, scans, x-rays, and mere physical examination
  • Hypertension – A very common condition with a prevalence of approximately 30% in adults. Many complications arise from poorly controlled high blood pressure, and these include kidney failure, stroke, heart failure, sexual dysfunction and so forth.
  • Diabetes – A worldwide prevalence of about 10% of adults is alarming. The disease is diagnosed through blood tests, which include home blood sugar checks. The sugar testing machine is an over-the-counter device that is quite affordable. Complications can include blindness, kidney failure, diabetic foot, and sexual dysfunction etc
    and so forth
  • Erectile Dysfunction – A common condition that affects approximately 22% of men over the age of 40 and 2-5% of men under the age of 40. So many causes have been identified and common ones are diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, depression, some medications like methyldopa, nifedipine. Get to the bottom of the matter before taking sexual enhancers, which can have many side effects. There is a common abuse of sildenafil the blue diamond, but the effects can be terrible when it comes to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Male Infertility – About 10% of men can suffer from infertility with consequent infertility, but many men don’t want to hear about it. Women are usually to blame, but men can have problems with congenital sex defects, low sperm counts from mumps, HIV, rubella, chlamydia, or gonorrhea.

It’s time to be man enough and see a doctor. Fear should be removed and face the reality that can save your life. Seek medical help early.

  • Johannes Marisa is President of the Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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