PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu yesterday cut short his participation in the International Women’s Day and excused himself from the celebrations at National Heroes Stadium when he felt unwell.
President Lungu informed the gathering before he left the National Heroes Stadium that he could not continue inspecting the women’s parade because he had been diagnosed with high levels of fatigue as well as malaria.
“I am feeling much better and I have been told I have high levels of fatigue and I should take some rest. There is nothing to worry about but the celebrations can continue,’’ President Lungu assured the nation before he stepped down from the presidential dais and left the stadium.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said in a statement yesterday that soon after the Head of State felt unwell, a snap medical test was conducted in the holding room within the premises of National Heroes Stadium and that traces of malaria were detected.
Mr Chanda said due to the illness, President Lungu was forced to leave the venue of the International Women’s Day celebrations earlier than was planned.
Mr Chanda stated that doctors at Maina Soko Military Hospital conducted comprehensive medical check-ups and later observed the Head of State and that his medical test results were good.
He said the Head of State was being treated for malaria and fatigue and that doctors have since advised him to take some rest.
On Friday last week, President Lungu officiated at the launch of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s re-launch of the book “Zambia shall be free” from 19:00 hours to 23:20 hours.
On Saturday, the Head of State chaired the Patriotic Front (PF) central committee meeting from 09:00 hours to 18:00 hours and later met provincial officials and chiefs in the night.
And the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) has commended the handlers of President Lungu for their swift action by advising the Head of State to withdraw from the women’s celebrations on suspicion that he could have gone down with malaria.
ZMA president Aaron Mujajati said State House demonstrated respect for the public when they publicly disclosed that the President sudden departure from the National Heroes Stadium was on account of illness.
Commenting on President Lungu’s sudden departure from the celebrations yesterday, Dr Mujajati said: “If the President had just left without any explanation, it would have fueled unnecessary speculation. The swift action by State House medical team conveys the fact that no health issue should be taken lightly but instead be promptly investigated and dealt with.”
Dr Mujajati said his association was constantly in touch with Mr Chanda, the presidential press aide who had assured the association that there was nothing to worry about because the Head of State was simply fatigued because of his busy schedule since he assumed office in January.
He said in a statement that it was unprecedented that State House could exhibit such levels of transparency over the illness of the Head of State and advised that such levels of decency should be institutionalized.
He said if transparency in the handling of the President’s illness could be institutionalized, future administrations could learn how to handle the health of the Head of State in a predictable fashion.
“The public announcement about President Lungu’s illness was timely considering that it was made at the time of celebrating women’s day because women are the primary custodians of health. The swift action by the President’s medical team should be commended,” Dr Mujajati said.