In an address to African leaders President Trump praised the healthcare system of Nambia. Of course, there is no way to verify the excellence of that system because Nambia, like Narnia, doesn’t exist. There is a Zambia and a Gambia and there is a Namibia, but no Nambia. What could the Tweeter-in-Chief have been talking about?
Taking the possibilities one by one let’s look at Zambia first.
Zambian healthcare became free in 1970. Infectious disease was then and remains a large problem. HIV/AIDS infects one of eight adults and early deaths have created a lack of skilled workers. Poverty and resulting malnutrition is endemic. Most residents are subsistence farmers or smallholders and are slowly changing agricultural practices.
Malaria affects millions of residents, and various attempts to prevent it have been largely futile.
The free clinics have a small problem. There aren’t enough doctors or trained personnel to staff the hospitals and clinics.
So, we may assume Trump was not taking about Zambia.
The will is there. The resources are not.
Gambia is a tiny country called The Gambia that runs on either side of the Gambia River. Because of its location it was visited by Arab traders at the time of the Mali Empire. Later, Portuguese traders did business, but then abandoned the site. The British colonized it mainly in an attempt to control the active slave trade in the area. It is now an independent nation. Healthcare is provided primarily by Health the Gambia, a charity set up by Gambians and Europeans to fund Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, the only facility in the country and located in the capitol, Banjul, near the mouth of the river.
If President Trump was a reader he would know that Namibia is next door to Botswana, the setting for Alexander McCall Smith's novels about the "Number One Lady's Detective Agency" and follow-up novels.
Namibia is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, but the wealth is unevenly distributed between wealthy white residents of European or South African descent and poor blacks. Half of the country lives in poverty.
Namibia, formerly South West Africa, was a German colony. Following WWII it was placed under South Africa by the World Court and then became independent as Namibia.
The healthcare system of Namibia may be the one Trump referred to. After all, all you have to do is drop an “I” and Namibia becomes Nambia.
Healthcare is provided throughout the country through mobile clinics and focuses on preventive care. About 4/5 of children get vaccinated against measles and tetanus. Clean water is available widely, but toilet facilities are lacking and infectious disease remains a problem.
Roving troops of brazen baboons are also reported to be a problem, although this woman appears unconcerned.
One of the most prevalent problems is HIV/AIDS. One out of five adults has it and there are 50,000 orphans in the country who have lost one or both parents to the disease. Prevention is difficult because most poor people are uneducated and can’t imagine that disease can be caused by something that can’t be seen.
Still, healthcare in Namibia is better than in many African nations.
If President Trump had a building with his name on it in Namibia he would most likely know that it exists. However, he has no holdings in Africa other than in the Middle East as the linked map shows. Even if he had holdings in Namibia he would still likely be ignorant of the absence of Nambia.
There is a darker side to this story. There has been a desire by neo-Nazies since at least the 1970s to set up a Rhodesia style White Supremacist utopia in Namibia. Strange that White Supremacists want to create a place where White people don’t have to rub shoulders with people of color in a land where most people are black. Trump has a fascination with the alt right, but there is no evidence that he shares this bizarre dream.