Leon Nestor Boucketi lost his ability to speak after suffering a stroke. Nursed by his brother who also speaks on his behalf, the former professional footballer is now undergoing rehabilitation.
"He lost his voice 100%, and when we arrived at the Adolph Sice hospital, we were told that it wasn't a case that should be treated by the specialists there. And so, given the seriousness of the case, we had to catch up quickly with the loandjili hospital. A scanner currently costs 150,000 CFA francsand if you don't have enough money, you lose the patient,'' said Armand Boucketi, Leon's brother.
Expensive treatments are exacerbating stroke mortality in a country where the disease is one of the leading causes of death, due to inadequate health infrastructure and human resources.
"It's the leading cause of death in neurology departments, and neurovascular units are used to treat patients with acute strokes. There are none here in Pointe Noire, and only one in Brazzaville,'' said Professor Sounga Bandzouzi, a neurologist.
To survive, some people turn to alternative medicine, like the internationally renowned artist Zao. After suffering a stroke in 2022, the author of the hit song Veteran is now waging a new battle, organising charity concerts for the victims.
While waiting for a better care policy in the Republic of Congo, health professionals are stressing the importance of prevention, which involves a balanced diet, sport and a healthy lifestyle.