Jean-Jacques Cornish

South African minister lashes African health tourists

South Africa’s Health Minister has lashed African leaders who go abroad to seek medical treatment.

Aaron Motsoaledi was speaking at a World Health Organization conference at Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls where the host 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe frequently travels visits eye specialists in  Singapore.

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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says African leaders travel abroad for medical attention because they are not confident of receiving adequate treatment at home.

Because they can afford to do this, they are not motivated to provide the resources to improve domestic medical services and infrastructure.

He says Africa’s the only continent where leaders travel abroad for health reasons.

They should be ashamed of this and should be promoting their own hospitals, clinics and specialist doctors.

This year, Nigeria’s Muhamadu Buhari has spent no less than five months in British hospitals. He still has not revealed to his people what ails him.

Last year, Buhari rounded on wealthy compatriots  going to European, Asian or American hospitals, dismissing them as health tourists.

Outgoing Angola President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has fallen into this category.

So have Presidents Patrice Talon of Benin and Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe officially opened the conference addressed by Motsoaledi.

He was not at the gathering at Victoria Falls when the South African minister spoke.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.