Thursday, April 9, 2020

Etoudi: Will Paul Biya soon to be hospitalized at the Yaoundé hospital?

With the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of almost all the borders of the world, African leaders, mostly fragile and prestigious clients of Western hospitals find themselves trapped in their neglect.

Now equal before the disease like their compatriots, "African politicians are forced to seek treatment in their countries" as the newspaper "Courrier international" writes in an article in which he lists these African leaders subscribed to foreign hospitals and who will now have to be treated at home. Paul Biya, the first who spends a fortune each year in Swiss hospitals. 


Accustomed to seeking treatment abroad, African politicians are now stuck in their country. Forcing them for the first time to return to their system of care and to reveal their state of health.

This may be the beginning of an awareness of the African political elite on their health system. In any case, this is what the daily Burkina Faso Today in Faso wishes, which mocks the impossibility for senior officials of the continent “to go to Europe on a“ mission ”since the borders of the Schengen area were closed in because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Trips at the taxpayer's expense often expedient “to carry out medical check-ups, treat simple sores or even pernicious illnesses.” 

Usually discreet about their state of health and regularly criticized for seeking treatment abroad, African politicians have been communicating more about their medical situation since the appearance of Covid-19. 

The political class, first hit by the Covid-19

In Côte d'Ivoire, the unavoidable Minister of Defense, Hamed Bakayoko, admitted on Monday, April 6, that he contracted the disease. The same day, his Prime Minister and presidential candidate for next October, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, came out of fourteen days of a voluntary quarantine: he had been in contact with an infected collaborator. 

In Burkina Faso, five ministers tested positive. Guinea has two ministers and twelve staff members of the Presidency among the confirmed cases, President Alpha Condé having been tested negative. So many cases which push the leaders “to deploy all the necessary means to fight the Covid-19”, quips Today in Faso. 

Presidents subscribed to European clinics 

While their health systems are often very bad, hospitals under-equipped and resources non-existent, the Heads of State of Africa always fall back to Europe or the Maghreb for their personal care. But the popular reaction has been felt for a few years. 

In March 2019, the street forced Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 83, to relinquish power after yet another hospitalization in Switzerland. A few months later, the indestructible Cameroonian number one Paul Biya, 87 years old and regular patient of Swiss clinics, had to shorten his stay in Geneva after demonstrations by opponents in front of his hotel. 

In early January 2019, Gabon suffered an attempted military coup, while President Ali Bongo, 61, was hospitalized in Saudi Arabia and then in Morocco for almost three months. In 2017, the Nigerian septuagenarian Muhammadu Buhari spent nearly five months in London for a disease kept secret. An absence and an opacity which threw hundreds of people on the streets to demand his return or his resignation.