Africa's Leaders Forced to Confront Healthcare Systems they Neglected for Years
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe died in a hospital in Singapore, and Cameroon's Paul Biya regularly seeks treatment abroad. Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari was out of the country for several months in 2017 for treatment in London for an undisclosed illness and has frequent checks abroad. Since he took office in 2015, he has embarked on at least four medical trips to the UK.
But with flights grounded and countries across the world on lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, these leaders are getting a wake-up call that they must fix their healthcare systems.
The President of the Commonwealth Medical Association, Osahon Enabulele, says while citizens have endured their leaders' frequent recourse to overseas medical treatment in the past, they may not remain so tolerant if the coronavirus wreaks havoc as it has elsewhere in the world.
"There is no place for any leader to hide anymore," Enabulele said. "This whole situation of public office holders in Africa, most times using taxpayers' money to go on foreign medical trips at the slightest discomfort is one thing that will be reversed when this pandemic is over," Enabulele told CNN.
Infection numbers across the continent, while significantly lower than other parts of the world, are rising exponentially. The World Health Organization recently reported that the number of cases in Africa was now more than 11,000, with 600 deaths.
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