, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura was flown to South Africa on Wednesday after doctors recommended specialised treatment.
The Secretary to the Cabinet left aboard an Amref Citation jet which flew him to the Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg where he was expected to spend at least a week, according to government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua.
Quoting Amb Muthaura’s personal physician, the spokesman said test results had shown he was experiencing “narrowed arteries to the heart.”
“His heart however, is pumping normally. The condition was making it difficult for enough blood and oxygen to be supplied to his heart,” Dr Mutua told reporters at an impromptu press briefing.
He said Amb Muthaura was in high spirits when he boarded the Amref flight and even supplied journalists with a photograph taken in the plane in which the patient is seen giving a thumbs-up sign.
“His arteries are narrowed; they are not clogged so his heart is pumping normally,” he added but could not confirm if the condition was a heart attack which is usually associated with such characteristic.
Mr Muthaura’s personal physician, Dr Frank Mwongera, accompanied him to Johannesburg and Dr Mutua said his family members were due to join him later.
He denied that there was a vacuum in the Cabinet office where Amb Muthaura serves clarifying that “the government is well structured and no vacuum can be created by Amb Muthaura’s absence.”
“It means therefore that Mr Muthaura can go on leave. In such a case, work has to be done it doesn’t mean that things stop moving,” he said.
“In fact it is a good thing for him because now he can rest,” said Dr Mutua adding: “Amb Muthaura has not gone on leave for ten years now.”
“I even told him this morning (Monday) at the airport that he needs to go on leave for him to rest because he works very hard,” he added.
Amb Muthaura fell ill on Sunday when he complained of chest and stomach pains, according to his personal physician.
“He called me on Sunday and I advised him to come to the hospital,” Dr Mwongera said and added that “indeed he drove himself to the A and E department of the hospital and that is where we met him.”
Tests were run on Sunday evening and Monday morning.
President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and dozens of cabinet ministers were among Amb Muthaura’s guests in hospital since Monday.
Other government officials who called on him on Tuesday include Attorney General Amos Wako who even dropped him a “Get Well Soon” card.