In less than a year, Ghana has lost two ingenious sons; President John Atta Mills and former vice president Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
It is not possible for anyone to say whether or not these deaths could have been avoided since the health history and cause of death for both leaders are not entirely public.
However, it is possible for people to take very good care of their health with a view of living a much longer life.
This might have been one of the reasons for the Progressive People’s Party’s Dr Kwesi Ndoum advocating for what I will call a public medical check-up.
About two weeks ago, Dr Papa Kwesi Ndoum subjected himself to a vigorous medical examination at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
This was after he had thrown a similar challenge to his other contenders to do same. From all intent, this decision was taken after Ghana’s sitting president John Evans Atta Mills died while serving.
According to Dr Ndoum, it was important the health of public officers is not shredded in secrecy.
From the look of things, his challenge is not being considered by the other contenders, as none will want to put aside the vigorous campaign period to go for a check-up or examination.
Some people have wondered if Dr Ndoum will go public with the full details of the report, especially if its unpleasant news.
However, this is not the focus of this article. What has necessitated this piece is the disregard most people have for their health as long as they think they feel fit.
The Head of the Public Health Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Philip Amoo who examined Dr. Ndoum applauded his bold decision and called on other public office holders to do same.
According to him, it is unjustifiable for any person to die suddenly without anything triggering that.
“When you read “what a shock” on an obituary poster, do not be surprised. Death does not come like that. We in the medical field know that less than two per cent of cases will only happen like that. That a person will just be normal and suddenly die,” he said.
According to him, when this happens, it means, “The problem has been brewing for a very long time. It’s just that the person has not been careful enough to submit himself to thorough checks routinely.”
It is very common to hear people say with pride, “I have not been to the hospital for over two or more years now…” Even though it might sound like a very healthy person talking, Dr Amoo says, “This is ignorance”.
He stresses his point by asking, “Even vehicles that are machines undergo routine check-up, how much more human beings?”
He says it is extremely important for people to cultivate the habit of undergoing regular health checks, as it “enables us to pick anything wrong at a very early stage.”
Aside that, health checks are necessary due to the fact that they can be interpreted immediately. A health check together with a medical history can be used by your doctor to assess your general health and well-being.
Health checks should not be reserved for when you are feeling unwell - they are a great way of ensuring your general health is maintained. Some symptoms such as high blood pressure may not produce any obvious physical symptoms, however, early detection and treatment can help ensure that your heart remains healthy and that your risk of heart disease or stroke are greatly reduced.
There can be great variation in how detailed a health check is depending on its purpose.
A health check may be brief, but a complete health check involves evaluating everything from the patient's appearance to specific organ systems.
All the information is recorded which then forms part of your medical record.
Death does not come knocking; like it’s stressed in Akan, “Owuo kura adea a, nkwa ntumi nngye,” meaning, “Death is inevitable” but some deaths can be avoided with regular health checks.
Unlike Dr Papa Ndoum, these medical reports are not made public and just like Dr Philip Amoo, I hope what Dr Ndoum has done will be emulated by not just people holding positions in Ghana, but also every other Ghanaian.
By Eugenia Asiedua Tenkorang/citifmonline.com/Ghana