The case of Niger is not isolated in Africa. Going abroad for medical follow-up is a very popular practice among high officials in the state because of the disastrous state of the local health centers. Heads of State who do not preach by good example are the first to run to be consulted abroad at the slightest health problem. Ali Bongo from Gabon and Mohamadou Buhari from Nigeria recently made long stays outside their country for medical treatment. A situation that exasperates the public opinion that it is high time that the state of hospitals be a major concern in the political programs and that concrete actions are carried out so that the health centers Africans are no longer dying for a poor population.
African presidents champion of medical stays in Europe
In Gabon, Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, was stranded in Riyadh on 28 October 2018 while attending a summit, spending nearly eight months out of his country to receive appropriate medical care and convalescence. A long absence that gave rise to intense political tension in Gabon and subsequently to a coup attempt on 07 January 2019. In Nigeria repeated visits to London in 2018 by President Buhari for medical examinations eventually created a climate of concern among the population who still remember the death on May 5, 2010 President Umaru Yar’Adua then full mandate.
Also worried about the financial costs of his manager’s travel, the public had asked him for more clarification on his expenses borne by the taxpayer’s money. In the same vein, the academic Tahiru Azaaviele Liedong via an article published by a British media made shattering revelations by claiming that the bill for the parking of President Buahari’s plane during the 3 months spent in London for medical consultation had cost the modest state is 420,000 euros. A staggering amount of about 0.07% of the $ 304 billion allocated annually to public health in Nigeria.These long stays out of the country of African presidents, highly publicized by the foreign media expose these to ridicule, prove in the eyes of the world their dependence on foreign health systems and their lack of confidence in their health facilities for most defaulters.
Local hospitals in total disrepair
In Africa while politicians are being treated abroad in state-of-the-art hospitals, the population has to deal with health centers in poor condition on a daily basis. According to WHO, hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa have an average of 02 doctors and 15.5 beds per 10 thousand people. A sad finding that officials in Africa are struggling to treat their own nationals. While the rich are treated outside the country, the poor themselves die in public hospitals of money, medicines and quality care. This situation is a reality in Cameroon, Senegal, Burkina Faso in the Congo and in many other countries where the state hospitals are truly store of dead.
To limit the stay abroad of their administrators, African states must invest in the quality of hospitals and health care provided to patients. They must also pay well for local doctors and specialists to prevent their mass exodus to developed countries. Emphasis must also be placed on education in order to have well-trained health professionals. By taking the decision to restrict the travel abroad of ministers and elected officials, the Nigerian government wants the medical benefits of the latter are now provided by the new general reference hospital built in Niamey. At the forefront of high technology, this hospital is expected to be the largest in the West African sub-region. With sophisticated equipment and specialists from various countries, this hospital according to the Nigerian Minister of Health is able to treat the various diseases that push senior government officials to be treated outside the country. Uganda, which has also recommended to its officials to put an end to their medical stays abroad, will inaugurate in 2020, a high standing hospital. To ensure the proper functioning of health facilities in the country, President Yoweri Museveni has made the habit of making recent surprise visits on the ground. An example that should follow his African peers.
South African health minister Aaron Motsoaledi, whose country is a benchmark in Africa for health infrastructure, told in a regional summit organized by WHO that the continent is the only continent whose leaders use medical services outside their country. Health tourism that Africans believe should be ashamed.
Article from AFRIC Editorial
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