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New Zambian President Needs Treatment Abroad

FILE - The Patriotic Front's Edgar Lungu, right, is sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony in Lusaka, Jan. 25, 2015.

Doctors in Zambia say newly elected president Edgar Lungu needs treatment abroad for a condition that caused him to collapse in public on Sunday.

The Zambian president's office says Lungu 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.

A statement Monday said doctors have recommended the president undergo a high-tech medical procedure that is not available in Zambia and have referred him for specialized treatment abroad.

Lungu, 58, was initially diagnosed with malaria and fatigue after he collapsed in the capital, Lusaka, while giving a speech to commemorate International Women's Day.

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

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 reoccurred.

Treatments for the condition include medications and surgery. There was no immediate word on when or where the president will be treated.

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