Ailing Lungu opts for SA treatment

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ZAMBIAN President Edgar Lungu said on Tuesday he will travel to South Africa for specialised treatment after he collapsed at an International Women’s Day event at the weekend.

“I am feeling much better but I have to go to South Africa this afternoon,” Lungu told reporters on a visit to a slum in the capital Lusaka.

“I need to go for further tests and then if there will be need for further procedures such as surgery, they will tell us.

“I hope to come back alive, no one wants to die.”

Lungu, 58, was discharged from hospital late on Monday after a team of seven doctors treating him said he was well enough to return home.

The presidency initially said Lungu was receiving treatment for malaria but then disclosed he was suffering from achalasia or a narrowing of the oesophagus, which led to his collapse during Sunday’s ceremony.

Achalasia is a rare swallowing disorder affecting the oesophagus. It is a chronic disorder and patients have an increased risk of oesophageal cancer, especially with long-standing untreated achalasia.

Spokesperson Amos Chanda said Lungu, who has been in power for only six weeks, had previously had the same condition corrected 30 years ago, but that it had recurred.

Lungu won a snap election in late January after the death in office of president  Michael Sata in October.

Sata was Zambia’s second leader to die in office in six years, sparking calls for presidential hopefuls to undergo medical checks to guarantee their fitness.AFP