Sierra Leone-Health-Evacuation

S/Leone: Ex-junta leader gravely ill

APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone)

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has ordered the immediate airlifting to Ghana for medical treatment of former junta leader Captain Valentine Strasser who is gravely ill and admitted at a hospital in Freetown.

In a statement on Wednesday, the presidency in Freetown said 51-year-old Strasser will be flown to Accra for surgery over a blood circulation condition.

Bio gave the order after visiting Strasser at a Freetown hospital where he has been admitted since he was taken ill and cannot walk due to his condition.

Strasser made history in 1992 when he overthrew the civilian administration of Joseph Momoh and became the world’s youngest head of state at the age of 25.

Current president Bio was part of the junta led by Strasser who headed the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) junta until 1996.

He was replaced by Bio, then his deputy in the military government, in what has been described as a palace coup.

Since he lost power, Strasser has been living in squalour in a rundown suburb of Freetown, apparently a destitute.

According to reports, the former head of state had been taken ill for some time and was admitted at the 34 Military Hospital in Freetown for three weeks, from where he was recently moved to a more advanced private hospital on the orders of President Bio.

Last Saturday, Bio paid a visit to his former boss at his sick bed at the Aspen Medical Hospital to get an update on his condition.

According to the State House statement, Bio assured Captain Strasser that he would do everything required to help him regain his health.

Strasser is being treated by personnel of the Joint Medical Unit of the Republic of Sierra Leone Army.

Lt. Col. Dr Stephen Sevalie, the Commanding Officer of the medical unit, explained that the former head of state suffers from Peripheral Artery Disease, a common blood
circulatory problem.

The condition entails narrowed arteries which reduce blood flow to the patient’s limbs.

Usually patients for this condition display the symptoms in the legs, as is the case for Strasser, which does not receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand.

Surgery by a vascular surgeon is required to re-establish blood supply to the affected part.

President Bio was accompanied to the hospital by Minister of Health, Dr Alpha Wurie, who was quoted saying arrangements were being made for Strasser to be flown to Ghana “as soon as possible.”


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