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30 Aug 2017

Only African leaders travel abroad for healthcare – Minister mocks Buhari, others

South Africa’s Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, has mocked African leaders who seek medical attention outside the continent, a category President Muhammdu Buhari falls under.
He said the practice has become a major drain on their countries’ health expenditures.

The minister said it was shameful that African leaders frequently seek medical care abroad while most of their countries have substandard facilities.

“I have said this before and I will say it again: We are the only continent that has its leaders seeking medical services outside the continent, outside our territory,” Zimbabwe’s NewsDay newspaper quoted Motsoaleda as saying.

“We must be ashamed of that. This is called health tourism. We must promote our own,” he said at a regional health dialogue organised by the World Health Organisation in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

President Buhari, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Angolan leader Eduardo dos Santos, Benin’s Patrice Talon and Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika, have travelled outside the continent in recent months for medical care.

Buhari, in his second medical trip in 2017, jetted out to London on May 7.

He returned on August 19, after spending 104 days out of the country.

In July, President​ of Angola,​ José Eduardo dos Santos, returned home after 17 days in Spain where ​he travelled ​for medical treatment.

The veteran leader has visited the European state several times since 2013.

He spent 28 days in Spain in May without an official explanation, prompting claims of his death on both the social and traditional media.

President dos Santos has been in power since in 1979 and is Africa’s second longest serving president after Obiang’ Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.

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