SA health minister blasts African leaders for 'health tourism'

| Updated Aug 30, 2017 at 7:00am


Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari returned to office in August after three months' medical leave in the UK


South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has criticised African leaders for seeking medical treatment abroad.

Speaking in Zimbabwe at a WHO meeting of African health ministers, Mr Motsoaledi said Africa is the only continent where the leaders travel abroad for health reasons.

He was addressing the conference hours after President Robert Mugabe, who himself makes regular trips to Singapore for eye treatment, opened the meeting.

Mr Mugabe had left the event by the time Mr Motsoaledi spoke. In the past year five African heads of state have gone overseas for medical reasons.

They include Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, Benin's President Patrice Talon, Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Health campaigners have regularly criticised these foreign trips arguing that they undermine health service at home.