National Health Checkup Day
Prevention is better than Cure
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
“'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' - Benjamin Franklin
Prevention has always been affordable and easy. The cure, however, is largely expensive and usually very painful and unusually obtrusive—not stress-free in any way.
A healthy population is not only happy and contented population with a good quality of life, but efficient as well in their respective fields. Therefore, it is not only the individuals and family but the state as well, which suffers expenditure in managing the illness. Thus preventing disease and promoting health pays high dividends to society at large. However, only 9.6 % of total healthcare expenditure goes towards preventive healthcare.
The focus of the National Health Checkup Day initiative by TOI and Healthians is to bring a behavioral change in our country when it comes to dealing with health. The campaign aims to create a habit of undertaking health checkups periodically to ensure that we keep a track of our body and listen to the alarming signs before it’s too late. This movement is targeted at making people dedicate at least one day to their health so that they can take necessary actions towards a healthier lifestyle and are able to avert critical illnesses.
A small change in our habits can help us avert critical illnesses coming our way. This is your chance to make a pledge for a healthier you and India. So what are you waiting for? Take a pledge to your good health now! PLEDGE NOW.”
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Every year in the beginning and usually before our USA trip, we make it a point to get a Health Checkup for ourselves so that we could be prepared and safe for any eventuality that we would not like to come across in the foreign soil. In addition, we take travel insurance policy as well so as to avoid any unforeseen expenditure coping with the distress we would not like to confront with. This year, but we had to almost rush to be with our daughter that did not give me an opportunity to have a dental checkup even as we were at Rhenock and the dentist at Community Health Centre there Dr. Priyanka Pradhan was on a leave following her wedding. Coming to Gangtok got busy preparing for the trip that could not take me to Dr. K. N. Pradhan a few steps down from our residence to the main street of the Development Area. Like always in the past, we rested assured of the immediate attention and care from Dr. Manjari Moktan with Hriday Moktan belonging to Mirik, there in the USA.
Age catching up fast brings many ailments in complement as we grow old unless there is something unknown force and our own inner strength to save us from the drudgery living that far with our sanity intact. My Muma nearing her 90s has a sharp memory to recollect things past. When asked about the First Doctor in Sikkim, she mentioned with glee of Dr. Bhavani Prasad Pradhan, the third/Sainla of seven sons and a daughter with each of their names, viz., Dal Bahadur, Lal Bahadur, Dr. Bhavani Prasad, Rai Saheb Bhim Bahadur, Damber Kumar, Ratna Kumar,and Bijay Kumar while daughters were Janaki, Nayana and Indra - born to Taksari Chandrabir Pradhan from his third wife Dhan Laxmi at Pacheykhani Kothi and elder to Rai Saheb Bhim Bahadur Pradhan. Sikkim Police Department with skeletal force was started following an order by Maharaja of Sikkim in Aritar Rhenock on 27th November 1897 and they observed its 123rd Raising Day this year. Their second son Lall Bahadur was in the force appointed by the then Political Officer John Claude White for the Residency / BadaKothi. Dr. Bhavani's third son Second son Lall Bahadur was the first to start with skeletal force the Sikkim Police Department in Aritar Rhenock on 27th November 1897 - observed as 123rd Raising Day this year. Dr. Bhavani's third son was also a doctor, Dr. Bhim Shamsher Pradhan, who served at the STNM Hospital during 1950s to move on to Darjeeling and become District Medical Officer at Sadar/Victoria Hospital in 1960s.
'Growing old' brings to my mind the Living Legend Centenarian Satya Mohan Joshi, the first and thrice winner of the much-coveted Madan Puraskar for literature and exponent of culture and heritage of Nepal. After recouping from some health issues a year or so ago, he at 101 still graces most of the functions held in the Kathmandu Valley commuting by himself on the bus until recently when the Lalitpur Municipal Corporation provided him with a car in honour of his many contributions to the society. He is the only person on whose name coins of Rs. 100/-, 1,000/- and 2,500/- denominations were issued to mark his hundred years in May 2019 by the Nepal Rashtra Bank in September 2019 and postage stamp is being brought out during his lifetime. 'For Satya Mohan Joshi, living a hundred years is not a difficult thing; it is simply a matter of refraining from negativity.', someone wrote.
Our own centenarian Sikkim Ratna and Padma Vibhushan Kazi Lhendup Dorji Khangsarpa, the first Chief Minister of Sikkim died ignominiously at 103 after a prolonged illness in his Chakung House at Kalimpong. A dejected and forlorn in spite of accomplishing the dream of his life making the Himalayan Kingdom the Twenty Second State of the Indian Union. People in Nepal dread of their country too of being subjected to Sikkimization with some politicians they brand as 'Lhendupe'. His full-size statue awaited long following his death to stand installed in the precincts of the Chintan Bhavan here.
Life in America is made easy and simple the way we could get a quick checkup of our health while visiting Walmart. Its medical aisle had an interactive kiosk with a chair to seat on wherefrom your information on certain parameters asked like, age, height, smoking/drinking habits, etc. was fed. Wait for some time to process and they give the results and advise if doctor care needed. My Health Age Report found me 5.1 year less than my actual age. “Want to lower your Health Age even more. Start by managing your top 3 health risks and keep visiting the kiosk to track your progress.”, it asked (see pictures). Returning home from the USA, we had a plan to get the health checkup at the earliest and as soon as we landed here. We did not want to spoil the weekend of our son coming down from Gangtok to fetch us and decided to stay back in Siliguri and enjoy the spirit of Chhath Puja from the Mahananda Bridge on Sunday morning. Familiar with its being celebrated while in Birgunj in the 1960s, probably the biggest in Nepal and its neighbourhood, at Ghareruwa Pond now converted into a beautiful park as a place of tourist interest. Before returning home, we were satisfied with the report of our Health Checkup done but for some slight progress shown otherwise, we attributed it to our advancing age that needed careful attention though.
“There is one life for each of us – our own.” and “The good and the wise lead quiet lives.”, the Greek Dramatist Euripedes said. Such is possible perhaps when one is convinced of his Health Checkup Report coming satisfactory. With a day now started for such a good purpose and cause, let us dedicate a day of our life and pledge to have a Health Checkup once every year. Having said so, why not from the First National Day for Health Checkup this Sunday, if not already initiated into. All the best!
Disclaimer: This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life. Some names (asterisk* for those no more), quotes, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.