However with flights grounded and international locations the world over on lockdown within the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, these leaders are getting a wake-up name that they need to repair their healthcare programs.
“There is no such thing as a place for any chief to cover anymore,” Enabulele mentioned. “This complete state of affairs of public workplace holders in Africa, most occasions utilizing taxpayers’ cash to go on overseas medical journeys on the slightest discomfort is one factor that will probably be reversed when this pandemic is over,” Enabulele informed CNN.
A terrifying prospect
The pandemic has overwhelmed superior well being services, and consultants predict it might devastate the continent’s fragile well being programs, already tormented by insufficient funding and labor disputes.
Lifesaving machines like ventilators — important to the administration of Covid-19 circumstances — stay a luxurious in some African international locations.
“When wealthy nations are in panic mode stating that hundreds of ventilators is not going to be sufficient, it simply brings to mild how poorer nations like CAR do not stand an opportunity within the battle towards Covid-19,” NRC Nation Director within the CAR, David Manan mentioned.
“I have to remind those who the coronavirus is extra critical than they’re already taking it. It’s killing folks in huge numbers in Italy the place there’s a tremendous well being care system. So it scares me to even think about what it could possibly do in Africa if it is available in full impact,” Wine mentioned.
Wine mentioned well being care funding has not been on the forefront of presidency spending in lots of African international locations as a result of their leaders usually search remedy in hospitals overseas.
“It is clear that healthcare isn’t a precedence for a lot of African governments, and so they put little or no cash into that sector. Anytime they’re sick, or their kids are having well being situations, they choose to go exterior their international locations,” Wine mentioned.
“Now the coronavirus pandemic has set a special floor for a lot of African leaders. It has proven that they need to have invested within the healthcare system of their international locations which might have benefited them and the folks on this disaster.”
The lawmaker says monies spent on medical journeys overseas might have been used to equip native hospitals with trendy medical tools akin to ventilators, which have proved important in treating some sufferers who’ve developed respiratory sicknesses due to Covid-19.
Wine mentioned some public hospitals in Uganda had grow to be “dying traps” because of years of neglect, and a few residents, together with himself, have needed to pay prohibitive prices for abroad remedy that would have been cheaper in Uganda.
“I’ve needed to spend my funds to hunt advance remedy overseas as a result of the process couldn’t be offered on this nation. However a majority of leaders in Uganda journey overseas for minor care utilizing taxpayers cash,” Wine mentioned.
However Uganda’s well being minister Jane Aceng informed CNN Wine’s evaluation of the nation’s well being system was not correct.
“Uganda is doing nicely and that reveals with our response to the coronavirus state of affairs. We’re doing nicely,” she mentioned.
Aceng added that she had all of the sources wanted to do her job.
A failed pledge
African leaders have constantly uncared for their nation’s well being sector regardless of a number of pledges to do enhance it, analysts say.
However a majority have fallen via the cracks in fulfilling this dedication.
“In per capita phrases, the remainder of the world spends 10 occasions extra on well being care than Africa,” the researchers mentioned.
The researchers predict it might be tough for the international locations on the continent to attain the Sustainable Growth Targets with a 2030 deadline with the “present spending atmosphere.”
Nigerian-British historian Ed Keazor agrees that the fallout from the outbreak is a “wake-up name” for governments to prioritize reasonably priced well being care.
Keazor, a most cancers survivor mentioned he made the tough choice to maneuver again to London the place he has entry to reasonably priced care underneath the Nationwide Well being Service regardless that he works in Nigeria.
Keazor says he is missed an appointment together with his physician within the UK because of the journey restriction, and that might not have been an issue if he might get the identical high quality of care domestically.
“If I might get the identical high quality of care right here (Nigeria) as within the UK the place I am a taxpayer and getting good medical companies, I might somewhat keep again right here as a result of that is the place my work and my bigger household is however sadly, its not there,” Keazor informed CNN.
For now, he hopes the well being disaster will change the Nigerian authorities’s focus to the place he says it must be.
“I hope the enormity of this drawback has introduced dwelling the urgency of funding in well being care infrastructure to the federal government and regardless of the nation appears to be like like after this disaster is over, our priorities will probably be targeted on heath care and training,” he mentioned.
CNN’s Brent Swails and Anita Patrick contributed to this story.