Kenya: Exploding Health Costs Driving Citizens Into Poverty

Exploding health costs have become an issue of grave concern in Kenya, where an estimated one million people are driven into poverty every year due to unaffordable medical bills. And Zimbabwe is to start paying compensation to thousands of white farmers who lost their land under Robert Mugabe.

Hospital bills are said to have worsened in the Kenya where close to one-third of the population (17.4 million inhabitants out of 59.7) live with Sh92.4 (8 euros) per day, according to 2018 World Bank data.

The Daily Nation reports on the nightmare of a once happy mother and businesswoman whose life was turned upside down by a simple cough.

Diana Mwalili told the Nairobi-based newspaper how she spent all she had trying to treat her daughter's poorly-diagnosed condition which worsened from a mere flu to spinal infection and then to brain damage, which has made it impossible for her to sit up, stand, walk or feed herself.

Hospital prisons

Aggrey Omboki who authored the report also raises another case gone viral on social media in the Kenyan capital -- that of a patient whose family is grappling with a medical bill worth 16,000 euros that must be paid before she is released from hospital. "She is basically a prisoner until they can clear the debt," Ombeki found out.

The Daily Nation's correspondent says a lawmaker's bill compelling hospitals to discharge patients who cannot pay, is still being debated in parliament. "The sad and painful state of affairs is that more and more families are being forced to sell land, houses and even cars to get relatives and at times bodies released from hospitals," he says.

Keep your jobless at home

Renewed xenophobic attacks against Africans immigrants continue to dominate comments in the South African papers two weeks after sporadic outbreaks of violence in sensitive suburbs of Durban and Johannesburg.

The Sowetan reports that 105 people including five babies fled to local police stations when unemployed youths in their neighborhoods kicked down their doors at 2 am.

In related news the Citizen relays calls by South Africa's Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on foreign governments to stop undocumented nationals from crossing into the country. Zulu spoke during a crisis meeting with African ambassadors on Sunday.

Several commentators aren't convinced by President Cyril Ramaphosa's argument that the violence was being spread by people with criminal intent.

The Johannesburg Star warns that the government is trapped in the mantra of arguing that the problem is purely "criminal as if that renders it less serious."

Thabisi Hoeane a Political Science professor at Rhodes University who penned the article urges the government to call xenophobia by what it really is, so that it can be defeated.

Zimbabwe's White Farmers see light at the end of the tunnel

Zimbabwe is to start paying compensation this year to thousands of white farmers who lost land under former president Robert Mugabe's land reform.

Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald publishes a government statement announcing that $18 million earmarked for the scheme, with full compensation to be paid later.

In South Africa, Mail and Guardian points out that the package is for improvements the former farm owners made to the land - and not for the land seized from 4,000 of the country's 4,500 white farmers to correct what Mugabe called "colonial-era land ownership disparities".

Critics blame the evictions for a collapse in agricultural production that forced Africa's one-time bread basket to become dependent on imported food to feed its population, according to the newspaper.

South Africa's Times Live reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa sees the paying of compensation to the White commercial farmers, as key to mending ties with the West.

The Johannesburg-based Citizen says the farmers in Zimbabwe accepted the offer of interim payments under a two-year international legal initiative.

Am I really rich?

And a stunning revelation by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is causing a buzz in the press.

Dangote says he withdrew $10 million from a bank just to look at it.

Uganda's Daily Monitor reports that Africa's richest man, sparked an outburst of laughter in Abidjan at the weekend when he explained how he put the money in the boot of his car and brought it into his room to make sure it was real, before taking it back to the bank the next day.

The manufacturing tycoon, who was speaking at a Mo Ibrahim forum in the Ivorian capital, had this advice for young African entrepreneurs. "Don't get carried away by the first flush of success", he said.

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