Zambia’s president collapsed while making a speech and was diagnosed with malaria, officials said on Sunday.
President Edgar Lungu was giving a speech to commemorate International Women’s Day at Heroes Stadium in the capital, Lusaka, when he excused himself from the podium and then collapsed.
Lungu was moved to a room nearby where they conducted a snap test that confirmed malaria, the president’s assistant Amos Chanda said in a statement.
The president was rushed to the Maina Soko Military hospital in Lusaka, where he is being treated for malaria and exhaustion.
“I am feeling much better and I have been told I have high levels of fatigue and should take some rest. There is nothing to worry about,” President Lungu said in the statement.
Lungu became president in January this year, succeeding Michael Sata who died last year after a long illness. Rumors swirled about Sata’s poor health for months when the late president was rarely seen in public. Sata reassured Zambians that he was fit to lead just weeks before he died.
The Zambian Medical Association commended Lungu’s officials for their transparency about the new president’s health.
“If he had just departed without any explanation, that would have fueled unnecessary speculation,” said Aaron Mujajati, the association’s president.