Sunday, October 24, 2021

Why do the presidents go abroad to be treated and what’s wrong with that?

What do the presidents of Nigeria, Angola, Zimbabwe, Benin and Alger have in common? The fact that they – with all evidence – do not trust the health care system in their homeland. By the total amount of time spent in foreign hospitals, the title of first among equals in this peculiar “competition” certainly deserves the president of Nigeria, 74-year-old Mohammad Bukhari. But all five of the above mentioned leaders went abroad this year to be treated.

National health systems in their own countries have serious financing problems, so their leaders prefer to improve their health abroad – unlike ordinary citizens who have to be content with the level of medicine that exists in the country. According to the World Health Organization , in 2010, African countries spent an average of about 135 budget dollars per capita on medical needs, while in the richer countries of the West this figure was $ 3,150.

(For comparison, in Russia in 2010, medical expenses in terms of per capita were about $ 727 at the current exchange rate, in Ukraine – $ 233, in Belarus – 322, in the Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – an average of $ 823 – note of the Russian Service) .According to the same data, for example, Zimbabwe’s public hospitals often lack the most basic medicines – painkillers and antibiotics. WHO argues that national health systems in many countries continue to degrade at an alarming rate.

As for Nigeria itself, then, according to the editor of the BBC in Abuja, Nazir Mikailu, the situation with public health is simply terrible.

With the help of the health insurance system, civil servants and some employees of commercial companies gained access to private medicine, but the majority of the population still have to rely on public health. In both countries, with the availability of money, you can get excellent treatment in private clinics, but often patients have a feeling that medicine abroad is still better.

This year, the President of Nigeria spent more than four months on treatment in London, and his diagnosis remains unknown to the general public, which causes understandable concern among residents of the country. Unlike his predecessor, who flew to Saudi Arabia in his time without appointing an acting president, Bukhari left one of his deputies in his place, but the dissatisfaction of ordinary citizens did not diminish.

The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since the 1980s, this year has already been sent to Singapore for treatment three times, and now his political opponents claim that Mugabe rules the country from a hospital bed.

In May, the authorities of Angola also recognized that President José Eduardo dos Santos, who had been head of the country for 38 years, traveled to Spain for treatment. As in the case of Nigeria, the Angolan authorities did not disclose the details of his voyage.

Representative of the opposition party Casa-CE Evaristo Da Lush said that the trip confirms the incompetence of the government in power for four decades and demonstrates the deplorable state of medicine.

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