Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly said that foreign trips for specialised medical attention are bleeding the country of the much-needed foreign currency.
Writing in a weekly column published on the The Sunday Mail website, Mnangagwa said that the southern African nation needed to develop its own capacity.
“Many Zimbabweans are turning to foreign countries for specialised healthcare. This is very expensive for our nation,” the president said.
Mnangagwa himself and other leading government officials have sought medical treatment outside the country.
Mnangagwa said the country was spending double the amount it would need to resuscitate its collapsed health system.
Zimbabwe’s health sector collapsed under the weight of an economic ruin, lack of funding and neglect under former president Robert Mugabe’s rule.
Struggling with poor health
Mugabe and his wife Grace have, on several occasions, been flown out of the country for “emergency” medical checks in Singapore.
The Mugabes left early last month in a flight chartered by Mnangagwa’s government, New Zimbabwe.com reported.
Mugabe, 94, and Grace, 53, have “been struggling with poor health, regularly travelling to the southeast Asian country for medical attention”, the report said.
At the height of the ruling Zanu-PF factional fights last year, Mnangagwa was reportedly airlifted to South Africa, following reports that he was “poisoned” at a rally in Gwanda.
A News Day report quoted a well-placed source as saying that Mnangagwa was taken out of the country in the company of his wife Auxillia.
A few weeks ago, Mnangagwa’s deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, was also in a South African hospital where he was treated for the effects of a bomb blast targeting Zanu-PF leaders at a rally in Bulawayo in June, reported the state-owned Herald newspaper.
Chiwenga was now back in Zimbabwe.