Muhammadu Buhari

Picture copyright

Picture caption

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

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

When it comes to time spent overseas getting medical assist, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, 74, is the primary amongst equals, however up to now yr all these heads of state have travelled abroad for well being causes.

In lots of instances they’re forsaking poorly funded well being companies, which most of their residents should depend on.

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

In Zimbabwe, for instance, state-run hospitals and clinics usually run out of primary medicines like painkillers and antibiotics, based on 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 principle downside.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

Publicly funded Nigerian hospitals are seen as missing assets and never providing the most effective 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 a few personal workers has given some folks entry to personal medication, however most individuals should depend on government-funded companies.

In each nations, good personal healthcare is accessible to these with cash however in some instances 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 residence. In contrast to certainly one of his predecessors, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who went to Saudi Arabia to see a health care provider, 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 increase medical go away

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

7 Might: 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 Might that Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been president for the final 38 years, had travelled to Spain for well being causes. However as within the Nigerian case, the federal government was not forthcoming about the issue.

Evaristo Da Luz, spokesperson for the opposition Casa-CE, mentioned that the journey “proves the incompetence of his authorities in place for 4 a long time and reveals the precarious nature of the well being service”.

‘Very, very black’

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

Picture copyright

Picture caption

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 stories.

The Benin authorities has been extra forthcoming concerning the purpose 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 mentioned.

However what’s the attraction of in search of 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 best abroad.

Mr Mugabe’s spokesman, although, was delicate to criticism about his boss’s frequent journeys to Singapore, insisting in Might 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 “just isn’t solely Zimbabwean, he’s really black… He’s very, very, very black”.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

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

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

It was this medical downside that meant Mr Mugabe needed to typically relaxation his eyes throughout conferences, giving the impression that he was sleeping, the spokesman mentioned.

The problem with these journeys overseas just isn’t solely the implied criticism of the medics at residence, 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 .

In 2013 he estimated that Nigerians had 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 Affiliation, says that the cash taken out of Nigeria might be invested within the well being system at residence.

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

Vicious cycle

On prime of that, he says, prime Nigerian medical doctors are then enticed overseas on the lookout for the most effective situations, exacerbating the scenario.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

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 residence.

Trying on the huge image, underfunding of well being does appear to be an issue.

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

Maybe they may 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, nonetheless, a non-public hospital, not a state one.