The health tourism of African leaders has been the cause of a huge amount of criticism from citizens who must make do with the health sectors in their own countries that are often not developed enough to handle certain cases at a reasonable cost.
African leaders seem to just be able to pick up and go outside their countries to get whatever medical help they need and it is one of the most disheartening realities of African countries.
A South African minister has stepped up to criticise African leaders who seek medical treatment abroad. Aaron Motsoaledi condemned “health tourism” while speaking in Zimbabwe.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari, Angola’s outgoing President José Eduardo dos Santos, Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, Benin’s President Patrice Talon and 80-year-old Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika have all sought treatment abroad.
That is exempting other African leaders who may not be Presidents or top men.
Motsoaledi made the comments after President Mugabe who frequently receives treatment in Singapore left the meeting of health ministers.
In May, George Charamba, President Mugabe’s spokesman trying to defend the President and insisting that Mugabe was not turning his back on Zimbabwean medical help said that the president’s doctor “is not only Zimbabwean, he is actually black… He is very, very, very black”.
Motsoaledi while making his point said:
“We are the only continent that has its leaders seeking medical services outside the continent, outside our territory. We must be ashamed of that.
“This is called health tourism. We must promote our own.”
He urged governments to increase funding to local facilities. Motsoaledi has been praised by South Africans for using public hospitals instead of private facilities.
When Motsoaledi made the comments, his remarks were met with silence from the other member states represented.