Prophet David Mbewe of the Living Word Evangelical Church (LIWEC) has saluted the departed President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania for demonstrating trust in his country’s health systems by choosing to seek health and medical attention at a local hospital in Dare es Salaam instead of being airlifted to access the service elsewhere outside his country.
Magufuli died yesterday aged 61. During his tenure of the Highest Office, Tanzania registered unprecedented steady social and economic transformation much to the awe of his fellow African presidents.
Reacting to his death on Thursday morning, Prophet Mbewe said by choosing to die in his own country’s hospital, Magufuli had demonstrated that his government was improving systems to ensure everyone accesses same service from the public sector.
The Prophet emphasized that this is different from other African presidents who are usually airlifted to access health care services outside their own countries when they are taken ill.
“This should teach Malawi and other African leaders a great lesson that we can improve our public health systems to meet the need of everyone, including top government officials. Malawians should stop praising the government for flying top officials out of the country when they fall ill because that’s a drain on government resources,” he said.
Prophet Mbewe added that by dying in his country, Magufuli had helped the government to save money, which they could use on medical bills.
He lamented that, over the years, Malawi has been spending millions of taxpayers money on medical bills for top government officials such as the country’s first Head of State, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, and former President Bingu wa Mutharika.
“I wish to urge the incumbent President and his government to seriously start improving our health systems. This will help us save money because we will not need to be airlifting our senior government officials to foreign hospitals if our hospitals are up to the international standard,” he emphasized.
Magufuli, a former chemistry teacher, his death has been blamed on “heart problems” but many will still suspect that he succumbed to Covid-19.
It is an irony that the pandemic he strenuously denied has outlasted him, turning his once-heralded presidency into a cautionary tale for the region and the continent.