Africa’s presidents keep going abroad for medical treatment rather than fixing healthcare at home

The Most Revolutionary Act

For much of the past week, Nigeria’s politics has been dominated by a message by president Muhammadu Buhari. But it wasn’t a national TV broadcast, instead it was a audio message released from London, where the president has been away on a medical leave for an unknown ailment for almost two months. In many ways, Buhari absence speaks louder than his faint message, especially to the state of Nigeria’s healthcare sector.

Nigeria’s political elite have historically shunned local hospitals and instead sought treatment abroad. Famously, in September 2015, Godswill Akpabio, former governor of oil-rich Akwa Ibom state, flew to London for treatment after a car crash just four months after he’d commissioned a $95 million hospital in his state.

It appeared Buhari might buck the trend when, last year, the government announced that it would no longer pay for medical trips of public officials. But his foreign medical trips, despite a

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