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Ailing Zambian President Travels to South Africa for Tests

  • VOA News

FILE - Zambian President Edgar Lungu is seen in a Feb. 6, 2015, photo.

FILE - Zambian President Edgar Lungu is seen in a Feb. 6, 2015, photo.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu is going to South Africa for medical tests two days after collapsing in public.

Lungu said Tuesday that he is feeling much better after being discharged from a hospital in the capital, Lusaka. But he said he needs further testing to determine whether he should be treated with medication or surgery.

The Zambian president's office says Lungu, 58, is suffering from achalasia, an illness that leads to narrowing of the food pipe and complications that can include chest pain and difficulty in swallowing food and water.

The president joked with reporters before leaving for South Africa Tuesday, saying "I hope to come back alive; no one wants to die."

Zambian officials say President Lungu has a history of achalasia. They say the condition was corrected 30 years ago at Lusaka's University Teaching Hospital but appears to have recurred.

Lungu was initially diagnosed with malaria and fatigue after he collapsed while giving a speech to commemorate International Women's Day in Lusaka.

His assistant, Amos Chanda, said that follow-up tests determined the president was actually suffering from a low blood sugar level.

Lungu won a January by-election to replace late president Michael Sata.