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Zambian Doctors to Determine the Cause of Chiluba’s Collapse

Doctors in Zambia are soon expected to announce what caused former President Frederick Chiluba to collapse Thursday in his home, shortly after attempting to answer a telephone call. The former President is being kept under observation after being admitted to Lusaka's University Teaching Hospital. Sources say he is being closely monitored to ascertain the cause of his sudden collapse. There is speculation, however, that his numerous court cases are having an adverse effect on his health.

From the capital, Lusaka, Chiluba spokesman Emmanuel Mwamba tells the Voice Of America it was fortunate Chiluba’s wife was nearby.

“Around 10:15 hours this morning, Dr. Chiluba stood up to answer a phone call and then he suddenly collapsed. Mrs. Chiluba immediately attended to him. She has been taught how to attend to him in case he collapsed, because he is a cardiac patient. So she remembered to make him lie down on the carpet and put him in a lying down posture, and immediately called the doctor,” Mwamba noted.

He said the former president’s physician instantly recommended Chiluba be admitted to the hospital, due to what Mwamba said was the seriousness of his health.

“The Doctor who observed him arrived within 15 minutes, and said it was a serious matter that needed Dr. Chiluba to be admitted to a hospital immediately. Dr. Chiluba was later in the day admitted in a University teaching hospital. He is currently at the hospital for observation to ascertain what caused him to collapse,” he said.

Mwamba said the former president’s condition would be known today after the doctors attending to him finish their observation.

“Remember he already has a longstanding condition. He suffers from a cardiac condition that he’s been treated for, for the last year. So they are observing him, monitoring his vitals to ensure that nothing serious happens to him. And I think they’ve done some medical tests. We would know exactly what it is that made him collapse,” Mwamba pointed out.

He said the former president had been summoned to appear before a team of Zambian doctors to ascertain whether Chiluba was fit to stand trial for graft charges leveled against him by President Levy Mwanawasa’s government.

“In fact the appointment was for Monday. He was supposed to have been taken to the hospital on Monday to be examined on the issue that Zambian courts want, whether he was fit to attend trial or not. But this sudden development has just put everything in disarray. I don’t know what will happen exactly. I think the government should be able to say exactly what will happen. But from our side, we are concerned about his health… we don’t know yet until the doctors tell us,” he said

Mwamba agreed that the former president’s legal troubles are having an adverse effect on his poor health.

“It’s taken a serious toll on his condition. We can’t rule that out. When Dr. Chiluba came back from South Africa, he showed a lot of improvement. In fact, that is why there was even an application in court that probably he should go back to court because he had shown some improvement. But we’ve seen marked deterioration, for us that are close to him in the last in the last two weeks. So really the issues of what is happening with the legal battles has something to do with it. It must be stressing him a lot,” he said.