South African Minister mocks Buhari, other African leaders for ‘health tourism’

President Mohammadu Buhari [Photo credit: Sahara Reporters]
President Mohammadu Buhari [Photo credit: Sahara Reporters]

South Africa’s Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, on Monday scolded African leaders who seek medical care away from the continent, saying the culture has become a major drain on their countries health expenditures.

The minister said it was shameful that African leaders frequently seek medical care abroad while most of their citizens grapple with substandard facilities at home.

“I have said this before and I will say it again: We are the only continent that has its leaders seeking medical services outside the continent, outside our territory,” Zimbabwe’s NewsDay Newspaper reported Mr. Motsoaleda as saying.

“We must be ashamed of that. This is called health tourism. We must promote our own,” he added.

Mr. Motsoaledi’s comments came when he delivered a speech at a regional health dialogue organised by the World Health Organisation in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Several African leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Angolan leader Eduardo dos Santos, Benin’s Patrice Talon and Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika, have sought medical care outside the continent in recent months, according to the BBC.

Mr. Mugabe, 93, who had used his open remarks to lament low investment in health sector on the continent reportedly left before Mr. Motsoaleda’s speech.

Among the African leaders, Mr. Buhari is known to have spent the highest number of days abroad during a single medical leave.

The president returned to Nigeria on August 19, after spending 103 days receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment. He had been away for 50 days early this year between January and March.

In June 2016, he was suddenly flown to London, where he spent several weeks treating what the presidency said was an ear infection.

Although the president addressed the country when he returned from his latest trip to London, he was silent about the country’s public health crisis or what his administration would do to improve the situation.

The president also declined to address criticisms that he had broken his campaign promise not to seek medical care abroad.

His media aide, Femi Adesina, later explained that “the president is committed to uplifting the state of the country’s healthcare system.”

Like Mr. Buhari, Angola’s President dos Santos also rebuffed all demands for him to disclose the nature of his illness, despite the state picking his medical bills abroad.

Algeria’s long-sitting president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, also recently received medical treatment abroad, the BBC reported.

The battered state of health services across the continent, which has barely improved despite decades of complaints, has been adduced for the leaders’ medical tourism.

In 2010, the average amount spent on health in African countries per person was $135 compared to $3,150 in high-income countries, a WHO report found.

Millions across the country still find it difficult to access basic medicines such as painkillers, anti-malaria and anti-biotics, according to health experts.

A shocking report by PREMIUM TIMES showed no Nigerian government-owned hospital had a functional cancer treatment machine as of last week.

The report said only Eko Hospital in Lagos had a functional radiotherapy machine in the entire country.


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  • Imam OLODO

    The SA Minister probably believes that Imam OLODO can comprehend what he is saying. Nigeria has entered “one chance” expired Danfo with refurbished smoking engine that requires pushing to start off after each stop at a Bus stop. See how he brings shame to all 200 million Mumus who still can’t even protest and demand that he explains why he has not built a hospital in 2.5yrs since he came in to power.

    • Eluba Inas

      Tell me which one of them had? Jonna, Yar’adua or Obj?

      • 0tile

        Then why did Imam Mohamed Buhari lie about it? Thanks to #ResumeorResign group for chasing him back to save us some money. His 9 days stay in that English hospital costs more than the money for building and equiping a decent hospital in Nigeria.

  • Sam

    Bad enjoy , but the man never mention Buhari by name? So why the cheeky headlines?

    • Eluba Inas

      To draw traffic to their site so they get more money from adverts–it is all the Benjamins.

    • 0tile

      Go to day’s BBC news where PT copied the news you will see Buhari’s name and photos alighting the plane on his way to England for treatment. You sycophants are terrible.

    • marc umeh

      He never mentioned Buhari. Maybe he mearnt SAM.

  • True talk from South Africa. Buhari was relentless in condemnation of medical tourism to deceive his gullible sycophants during campaign. Now he jumps on the plane for the UK with common earache for treatment. He loved the medical services in the UK so much he didn’t want to come home.

  • Danmole

    Ohhhhhhhhh….! Why? Why? Why are some Nigerians this wicked? What kind of suffering are you subjecting an old man like Buhari to? Look at his face and sunken eyes? Look at his sagging and lagging pharynx and vocal lobes, his chin now disproportionately aligned with his face. Frustration and stress written all over his face, and instead of resigning and going to rest, he is forced to continue. Can this man survive 30 minutes meeting? Can he stand and give a 20 minute (prepared) speech? Pls let him go. Abubakar Shekau will do better than Buhari. My honest opinion.

    • Eluba Inas

      Bring Shekau in comparison to anything shows how daft, wicked and evil you are.

      • 0tile

        Is Imam Abu Shekau not brighter and stronger than Imam Mohamed Buhari? Lying that government troops killed Imam Shekau does not mean that he is dead. You are the daft not Danmole.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    The dictator has been away for a total of 6 months on medical vacation yet he came back and felt too big to let the tax-payer who funded his trip to London know why he has been AWOL . …..OUR MUMU TOO MUCH !!

    • AryLoyds

      Buhari loves power so much but he is not ready to die in the hands of a Nigerian doctor in a local hospital.

  • Daniel

    This man must be regretting not remaining in Daura when the political hawks came for him.

    Just imagine the daily punches and disgrace.

    I pity Nigeria.

    • FreeNigeria

      The man is shameless and brainless, thus he can’t think.

      • Daniel

        I pity him. Aso Rock is not an inheritance.

        • FreeNigeria

          Worse, they see it as their personal property

    • 0tile

      Don’t blame anybody, he ran for 16 donkey years until he threatened and and bullied his way into power. Didn’t he know he was mentally and physically unfit for the job before he went in? Who does not know that his O/L was fake? Nonsense

      • Daniel

        Resignation remains his leeway of honour…

        But if he likes he can carry Aso Rock on his head.

        • 0tile

          For him Aso Rock is do or die.

    • Black power

      You think buhari is a disgrace? hes not at all. Of course someone would have to carry d blame, but in real sense, we are all culpable!!

      • Daniel

        Hahahaha!

        If you cannot lead, give way.

        Na only Buhari waka come?

        I pity his supporters and the man himself.

        Whenever you think he can lead, he simply goofs.

        A speech that ought to unite the country, having been away for a ‘criminal’ more than 100 days in London, turned out to be another disaster.

        Very sad for Nigeria! Too bad!

  • FreeNigeria

    “no Nigerian government-owned hospital had a functional cancer treatment machine”, we don’t even have a good xray machine, you’re talking of cancer machine.

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  • Liberty

    Buhari may not delivered a world class hospital in 2.5years, its however a fact to his defense that his tenure still has not come near GEJ’s or OBJ’s. So, in circumspect PMB has not done has bad as his predecessors in terms of taking our healthcare sector to the next level.

    • Teflonjones

      With opinions like yours, Nigeria wont reach its full potential for generations to come. Smh

      • Sam

        He is being realistic, that’s all.

      • Black power

        And with ur kind of mentality you will drag nigeria backward.

    • 45Degree

      Wow! Seems you expect to live for ever! Slavery mentality. And you kindda wonder why white people have absolutely NO respect for you. You don’t deserve one.

      • Liberty

        If, indeed, anyone has your so-called colonial mentality, then, with due respect, it must be people who expect a Buhari to wave some magical wand and transform our health sector, that is still receiving every support the international donour society could ever give in the primary health care category, from less than primary to the Singapore class.
        What a smart way to be slavish!

        • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

          You have a point, he cannot plan a health delivery system because he is either too busy flying around or relaxing in a mansion in London as a patient of Britain’s health system at the expense of the suffering Nigerian tax payer .

        • 45Degree

          Nigerians are already waiting for him to run back to his colonial master in London. Next time would not be very funny.

          • Black power

            And who is your colonial master?

          • 45Degree

            Your colonial master, the British. You, know the ones whom we exchanged Nigerians for mirror for.

    • 0tile

      Buhari spent 16 donkey years preparing for this job, one would expect him to hit the ground from day one, instead see what we got.

      • Liberty

        True!
        But, the destruction of our national capital continued over the 16year period.
        So, after 16years, PMB or who ever it is that choose to take up the unenviable challenge of cleaning out the mess for which we all are culpable, will have a hell of rubbish to contend with than could possibly be cleared in 2.5yesrs.

        • Black power

          Thank u

        • Anasieze Donatus

          You just wasted that response as no wailer see anything good and they hate to be rational

        • 0tile

          Your excuse is so dull and so lame that no decent person will take you serious. For how many years will Buhari lie that even a single penny was not left in the treasure when he came to power? Where did he find the 1 billion he gave to Marwa a few weeks after he took office? Oil price has been rising for over a year now. Tell me one particular thing Buhari has achieved since he came in. Only ignorant dummies will continue listing to his stupid_excuses.

        • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

          I think you missed out the word “not” in the last sentence.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Bruv or Sista, let’s be honest with ourselves.

      It is a crying shame that Aso Rock has a clinic that’s budgeted for every year, yet cannot adequately take care of our own President.

      It is not acceptable and its yearly budget alone is enough to deliver a world class facility.

      • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

        Look who’s talking .

  • atakamosu

    Buhari should have outfitted a small hospital with state of the art technology to match any of the very good hospitals in the developed world. It is not too late to do that, it would be an altruistic move.

    • 0tile

      You bet he is not going to do it. He does not reason that far.

    • marc umeh

      He just dont want to wake up every morning and see the face of a nigerian while he is sick. It makes him sicker.

  • DonMe$$i

    Please, will papa buhari attend the FEC meeting tomorrow? Or will they submit another ‘grasscutter’ report to him instead?
    Maybe the ‘Rats of Aso Rock’ Report?

  • Du Covenant

    I just wish this so called minister minds his/her business and make sure they maintain what the whites have built in South Africa including the healthcare system which I know something about and the zuma of their president should stop marrying more wives as part of the zulu backward culture.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      South Africa is a functional democracy with freedom of speech, the minister can speak his mind without fear of tyranny unlike the Nigerian Minister who will defend medical tourism to impress the Fulani cabal.

    • marc umeh

      At least they have the whites. In nigeria we have the Arewas.

      • Du Covenant

        Unfortunately this is as far your brain can take you which is terribly sad. Because you are such an ignorant person, ‘Arewa’ is a mere geographical location not an ethnic group as you are used to in your primitive cave. It is an open secret that the whites built what is in South Africa today. How they did it is not the topic of discussion here. Give South Africa another 10 yrs from now, lets talk again with the likes of zuma in control. At least in Nigeria, if we are serious enough we will be proud for building things by ourselves but, the way we are going not in my life time which is also very sad. Nigeria ought to have liberated all black people on this planet and we have failed so badly so far. Many black Africans look up to Nigeria with plenty of hope but, we have consistently failed probably because of people with your mentality!.

        • marc umeh

          I am laughing as I read your post , laughing because apart from my attempt at a joke , you are precisely making my points. Forget about your crude attempt to belittle me ( I can take it , I am a big boy) , my reference to Arewa is an attempt to mock ( ethnic or geograghic ) groups ( including ipob , oduduwa etc) , that tend to feel that claims to territory is the answer to their problems. My point is that this is a false premise. No country in the world has EVER been developed by a black race ANYWHERE in the world. We should therefore looks for the solution to our problems elsewhere. You see, we are not too far off.!!!!!

          • Du Covenant

            Good to know we are probably birds of the same feather. Kudos my broda, I hope our fellow citizens see the need for us to be serious and build our country as opposed to sit and want be Americans, English etc…

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    In addition to not possessing the requisite educational qualification, Mohammadu Buhari’s health is failing (or has failed). Going forward, we must force all candidates to undertake medical evaluation before they are allowed to contest. The illiterate Muhammadu Buhari has wasted too much of Niger Delta money on his medical treatment and aircraft parking charges of around half a million dollars. Our mumu too much!

    • thusspokez

      The illiterate Muhammadu Buhari..

      This insult about academic qualification is rather becoming stale. Criticise him for leadership skills and judgement or lack them but spare us the monotonous insult. It is beginning to get boring.

      I have met a few Nigerians who would tell you how many academic qualifications they have and yet when you engage them in discussions, they sound like illiterates. At a presidential level, leadership skills and judgement are what everyone is demanding and looking for.

      • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

        My post was not directed at you. I reserve the right to regurgitate Buhari’s illiteracy. If that bores you to death, so be it. No apologies, twerp.

      • 0tile

        There is no doubt that Buhari is uneducated and made no effort to improve himself. His lack of good education is hurting Nigeria and non of you his ass-lickers can deny it away.

      • Arabakpura

        I was one of those who defended President Buhari on his ‘West German’ outing! The truth is that because Jonathan messed up terribly and we desperately desired a change, the only available became desirable! I hope that I would not be completely disappointed at the end because I expected certain things to be derived even with Buhari’s deficiencies!

        • thusspokez

          I expected certain things to be derived even with Buhari’s deficiencies!

          The problem is that some people are still fighting the last election and boring everyone with their repeats when they should be moving on to access the government’s performance.

          Now, I don’t know what you mean by “certain things to be derived, but so far, Buhari has many more failures than successes on his mid-term report card.

          And as for “Buhari’s deficiencies”, every leader has deficiencies but the way they overcome it is by surrounding themselves with the best experts they can find to advice them. Buhari failed to do that, he surrounds himself with mediocrity, cronies and family members. Surely, you can’t expect excellence to come out of mediocrity.

    • Arabakpura

      Also, we have to force them to campaign vigorously as a way of checking their resilience as the Americans do!

  • Okokondem

    When you look at this man sitting behind that desk it is not difficult to figure out the reason he persisted in his quest to become president of a complicated country as Nigeria is not what he can offer rather to say to himself he was president. This selfish disposition that characterizes the men and women in our public service is so unfair to the rest of us who have aged without the benefit of enjoying what our country could have offered.

    It’s not right that Aso Rock health center or clinic or whatever fancy name they call it, would each year enjoy a larger budgetary allocation than probably the entire general hospitals in the country, yet whenever any of these goons have a headache or diarrhea they run overseas at our expense. DON’T THESE PEOPLE HAVE CONSCIENCE?

    • Romberg

      They don’t have conscience. If they do, they won’t look Nigerians in the face and portray themselves as men of integrity when all they do is to destroy whatever hope the poor masses will ever have.

      Worst still, what does anyone make of the masses who celebrated Buhari’s return? Do they deserve hospitals truly?

      I have looked around and I am still looking for the sector of the Nigerian economy where the impact of this government is being felt. I still can’t find one. But trust your people; all that matter is for Buhari to remain in power, dead or alive.

      • Okokondem

        You can’t imagine how frustrating it gets watching Nigerians beat up on one another on the basis of tribe and geographical origin while those who ruled the country first as soldiers, then as civilians, and of course the garden variety politicians some of whom came from the world of 419 make out like bandits. But the most revolting is watching Nigerians become apologists for these kleptomanias. It’s like some kind of Stockholm syndrome.

      • Mizch

        That reminds me of my great concern about the phrase, “Economic importance of mosquitoes” when I was in secondary school. Here it is: “What is the economic importance of the present administration?” And the answer is not far-fetched: petrol at N145.00 and all its attendant costs and extensions in the pockets of Nigerians; no employments or increase in salaries; recovered funds for medical tourism; rodents eating up furniture in president’s office, etc., etc. Hahahaha!

      • Arabakpura

        That crowd was rented! If you could lay your hands on the clip, you would discover that at close scrutiny! That is not to say that there are no true Almajiris who recognized that their leader had come back!

    • marc umeh

      Please don’t talk about the leaders. Talk about the followers. So I am supposed to feel sorry for those who trung the airport to welcome their dear leader from oversea.( some even wave the country’s flag.). These same folks may die tomorrow from heart attack because of lack of a working EKG machine !!!!!
      Who cares ?

  • thusspokez

    Let’s say, this South African minister of health, was merely quoting the Voice of Nigeria DG Okechukwu, having read the following news report:

    Medical tourism draining Nigeria’s reserves – VON DG Okechukwu
    premiumtimesng August 24, 2017Ebuka Onyeji

    • Okokondem

      Often I have resisted the urge to respond to some of your remarks because you sometimes come across as one who could have been smart but for some strange reason refuses to be.

      What does it matter who first made the observation or speech about the drain on African countries of the incessant medical tourism as they call it. There’s no award for the person and that should not be the takeaway by any descerninig individual who read this report. But that is your first and only remark after reading this article, how can that be?

      • thusspokez

        Often I have resisted the urge to respond to some of your remarks because you sometimes come across as one who could have been smart but for some strange reason refuses to be.

        Well, I am a philosopher among many other things. It means that you would need to read my comments slowly to fully understand them. Let me give you one good example below.

        What does it matter who first made the observation or speech about the drain on African countries of the incessant medical tourism as they call it. There’s no award for the person and that should not be the takeaway by any descerninig individual who read this report.

        You see, if you were as smart as I am, and had read the aforementioned comment slowly, you would have realised that the comment is intended to pre-empt posters who might be tempted to take the patriotic tone and start insulting Aaron Motsoaledi because he is a South African; and there you have it!

        • Okokondem

          The south African health minister lamented what he sees as untenable, in fact immoral behavior among African rulers and after reading it your first reaction was to preempt which among the readers would accusing him of making what is unquestionably a valid point? Where does this come from, philosophy? I don’t think so. I think your concern was who gets credit for making this observation, and in your opinion it should not be the south African who according to you did something akin to plagiarism.

          • thusspokez

            I think your concern was who gets credit for making this observation, and in your opinion it should not be the south African who according to you did something akin to plagiarism.

            Your reading skills need improvement, but let me explain:

            VON DG Okechukwu speech — wrongly attributed to the VP — was reported on the premiumtimesng website on August 24, 2017. Now if you had perused this news report, you would have seen the following quote by Mr. Aaron Motsoaledi:

            “I have said this before and I will say it again

            So based on this “I have said this before”, one could argue that Mr. Motsoaledi had said it before Mr. Okechukwu did about the August 24. Granted, the Mr Motsoaledi would deserve the credit for saying it first.

            Since I was aware of all these information, before writing my comment, it invalidates your claim that my concern was who gets the credit for making the statement first — clearly it is Mr Motsoaledi. So you are wrong again! Stop digging yourself a bigger hole.

          • serubawon70

            And yet the South African was “merely quoting” the VON DG? You cant quote somebody who made his own statement after yours. If you dig a hole you fall in it

          • thusspokez

            And yet the South African was “merely quoting” the VON DG?

            Piss off! Where did anyone say that? Then again, many of you can neither read properly nor understand the English language properly.

          • serubawon70

            thusspokez • 21 hours ago
            Let’s say, this South African minister of health, was merely quoting the Voice of Nigeria DG

          • Mizch

            Interesting! Was the writer not pointing out that the S.A. minister was just repeating the VON DG, who apparently comes from Eastern part of Nigeria, and should never say such a thing about the Lion King that looked like criticism? Many have sworn not to see anything bad in the present administration. How is that?

          • Arabakpura

            You mean the lion king that was chased out office by rats?

  • Mizch

    These expressed feelings are great. They are a little to the right, a little to the left. The middle appears empty and that is where virtue lies. The fact is that it is very difficult understanding an over-righteous person.

  • Arabakpura

    It is a shame of a continent with Nigeria – a giant with clay feet leading the pack!

    Let me hear Africans complain of racism and ill-treatment and I shall remind them that their leaders have consigned them to that fate and have told the world that they are substandard human beings!

  • wode

    Dear Mr President,

    This is really a challenge to you and your administration to make sure that our health systems, as well as other sectors, are robustly turned around by getting our (teaching) hospitals well equipped with modern infrastructure and well-skilled medical practitioners. If required, moderns hospitals that can take care of all forms of ailment be built in addition to the existing ones.

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