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Why do Buhari, Dos Santos and Mugabe go to hospital overseas?

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AFP

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has been in London for medical remedy since May

The presidents of Nigeria, Angola, Zimbabwe, Benin and Algeria all have one thing in frequent – an obvious lack of religion within the well being techniques at house.

In phrases of time spent overseas getting medical assist, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, 74, is the primary amongst equals, however previously yr all these heads of state have travelled abroad for well being causes.

In many circumstances they’re abandoning poorly funded well being companies, which most of their residents have to depend on.

In 2010, the typical quantity spent on well being in African nations per individual was $135 (£100) in contrast to $three,150 in high-income nations, the UN’s World Health Organization stated.

In Zimbabwe, for instance, state-run hospitals and clinics typically run out of primary medicines like painkillers and antibiotics, in accordance to well being watchdog Citizens Health Watch.

It says that the general public well being care system “continues to deteriorate at alarming ranges” with lack of cash being the primary drawback.

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AFP

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Publicly funded Nigerian hospitals are seen as missing assets and not providing one of the best care

As for Nigeria, the general public well being system is “horrible” due to poor funding, says BBC Abuja editor Naziru Mikailu.

A medical insurance scheme for presidency employees and some non-public workers has given some folks entry to non-public drugs, however most individuals have to depend on government-funded companies.

In each nations, good non-public healthcare is out there to these with cash however in some circumstances there’s a feeling that issues are higher overseas.

The Nigerian president has spent greater than 4 months in London this yr getting remedy for an undisclosed sickness, inflicting appreciable disquiet at house. Unlike certainly one of his predecessors, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who went to Saudi Arabia to see a physician, Mr Buhari did go away his deputy in cost, however this has not dampened the criticism.


Buhari’s unhealthy begin to 2017

19 January: Leaves for UK on “medical trip”

5 February: Asks parliament to lengthen medical go away

10 March: Returns house however doesn’t resume work instantly

7 May: Travels to UK for additional remedy

6 June: Aisha Buhari says his is “recuperating quick”


Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, in energy since 1980, has additionally been criticised by his political opponents for operating the nation “from his hospital mattress” after his third medical journey to Singapore this yr.

The Angolan authorities revealed in May that Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been president for the final 38 years, had travelled to Spain for well being causes. But as within the Nigerian case, the federal government was not forthcoming about the issue.

Evaristo Da Luz, spokesperson for the opposition Casa-CE, stated that the journey “proves the incompetence of his authorities in place for 4 many years and exhibits the precarious nature of the well being service”.

‘Very, very black’

The ill-health of Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 80, has been recognized for a very long time.

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AFP

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had a stroke in 2013

He suffered a stroke in 2013, was seen going to vote in a wheelchair in 2014 and later within the yr travelled to a hospital in France. He was again there final November for certainly one of what the federal government calls “periodic” medical checks, the AFP information company reviews.

The Benin authorities has been extra forthcoming concerning the motive for the comparatively youthful President Patrice Talon, 59, to journey to France in June. He went for 2 operations, one on his prostate and one on his digestive system, the federal government stated.

But what’s the attraction of searching for medical consideration elsewhere?

Unsurprisingly, no presidential spokesman has come out to say that it’s as a result of the well being service on the whole is healthier abroad.

Mr Mugabe’s spokesman, although, was delicate to criticism about his boss’s frequent journeys to Singapore, insisting in May that he was not turning his again on Zimbabwean medical assist.

George Charamba was quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper as saying that the president’s physician “shouldn’t be solely Zimbabwean, he’s truly black… He may be very, very, very black”.

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AFP

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President Robert Mugabe has to relaxation his eyes due to his medical situation – he isn’t sleeping

The solely difficulty was that the issue Mr Mugabe had together with his eyes may solely be handled outdoors Zimbabwe, because it had to do with “the extent of sophistication of medical expertise”.

It was this medical drawback that meant Mr Mugabe had to typically relaxation his eyes throughout conferences, giving the impression that he was sleeping, the spokesman stated.

The difficulty with these journeys overseas shouldn’t be solely the implied criticism of the medics at house, however that additionally they serve to undermine the well being system, main Nigerian physician Osahon Enabulele argues.

He calls the phenomenon “medical tourism” and says that the instance set by political leaders prices nations tens of millions of dollars.

In 2013 he estimated that Nigerians have been spending $1bn (£770m) overseas on medical remedy and reckons that determine may have doubled by now.

By comparability, the federal government’s health budget for 2016 got here to $800m.

Dr Enabulele, who’s vice-president of the Commonwealth Medical Association, says that the cash taken out of Nigeria might be invested within the well being system at house.

“The entire ambition to have state-of-the-art amenities will stay a mirage if folks hold going overseas for medical causes.”

Vicious cycle

On high of that, he says, high Nigerian docs are then enticed overseas in search of one of the best circumstances, exacerbating the scenario.

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AFP

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Angola’s President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has been criticised for going overseas for remedy

Dr Enabulele provides that whereas he needs the president effectively, he thinks that the remedy he wants might be discovered at house.

Looking on the massive image, underfunding of well being does appear to be an issue.

Also, political leaders might not have the inducement to enhance well being companies in the event that they themselves can afford to go elsewhere.

Perhaps they might take the instance of Sudan President Omar al-Bashir.

In January, he had what the official information company described as “an exploratory cardiac catheterisation” at a hospital within the capital, Khartoum.

It was, nevertheless, a personal hospital, not a state one.


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