Robert Mugabe's Singapore medical visit puts the spotlight on African leaders and medical tourism
Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe, is in Singapore for medical treatment, and he is not the only African leader who went abroad to consult a doctor.
SowetanLIVE reported that President Emmerson Mnangagwa told party supporters at a Zanu-PF rally on Saturday that the elderly statesman’s health had deteriorated, partly due to old age.
“Of course, he now is unable to walk, but whatever he asks for we will provide,” said Mnangagwa.
Mugabe is receiving medical care in Singapore and is expected to return to Zimbabwe at the end of November.
News of the African leader seeking treatment abroad revived the conversation about the quality of health facilities on the continent.
On social media, some people lambasted Mugabe for consulting foreign doctors when he had had many years to improve the health system in his own country.
Sad 😢 indeed.all this leaders in Africa they go overseas for medical care.because when they are in power they don’t take care of the health system and improve infrastructure.for me I don’t see leaders but slaves in suits working for 1st https://t.co/QnQewDprwK needs young blood— Samuel (@samieazy) November 24, 2018
Mugabe in Singapore for treatments. He was in power for 40 years,with people praising him,but he doesn't have good health Care.— think big (@thinkbigroads) November 25, 2018
Let pray for Mugabe who can't talk at Singapore hospital— wattara (@wattaraventures) November 25, 2018
He could not build a good hospital in Zimbabwe to spend his last day.
As Mugabe is seeking medical solutions in Singapore and his counterpart of Gabon plus other African politicians that loot everything and forget about the health of African citizens, it proves Putin words that Africa is a cemetery.— Unemployed Barista Bartender Mixologist (@254KOT) November 25, 2018
Mugabe isn’t the only politician to fuel the medical tourism discussion.
Early in November, South African deputy president David Mabuza raised eyebrows by going to Russia on sick leave.
According to Sunday Times, Mabuza’s spokesperson, Thami Ngwenya, said although the deputy president had taken sick leave, he was not “ill”.
“It would be mischievous to ask how ill is the deputy president when no such inference was made,” said Ngwenya.
In 2015, former president Jacob Zuma also allegedly sought the expertise of medical professionals in Russia, stated a Sunday Times report.
Claims implicated Zuma’s wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, in a plot to poison the former president.
Zuma allegedly found out while on a visit to the US that he had been poisoned. It is believed he then flew to Russia, where the diagnosis was confirmed and he was treated for poisoning.
Ntuli-Zuma denied involvement in any attempt to harm her husband.
Zuma was grateful to Russian doctors for the treatment he believed had saved his life.
At the time, he said: “If I didn’t have friends overseas, today you would be saying there was a man from Nkandla, but he died.”
Nigerian president Muhammad Buhari prefers the care of physicians in the UK.
The BBC noted that Buhari spent most of the earlier part of 2017 on medical leave in the UK.
The condition for which Buhari was treated was not confirmed.
The Nigerian president was blasted for going overseas for healthcare, leaving his countrymen to contend with the poor state of health facilities in his country.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos
According to Reuters, Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos was a patient in Spain in 2017.
His ailment was unknown, but the country’s foreign minister, Georges Chikoti, confirmed that Dos Santos had gone to Spain for medical reasons.
There was speculation that the president had suffered a stroke, but Angolan authorities would not comment on this.