UK & World News

  • 12 December 2012, 13:26

Mandela Doctors 'Satisfied' With Treatment

Ailing Former South African President Nelson Mandela has "made progress during the past 24 hours", according to his doctors.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader is continuing to recover from the lung infection that has kept him in hospital for five days, the government has said.

"Doctors attending to former President Mandela have reported that he has made progress during the past 24 hours and they are satisfied with the way he is responding to treatment," President Jacob Zuma's office said a statement.

Mandela was admitted to the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria on Saturday for tests.

It was several days before authorities announced that he was ill.

Each day he spends hospitalized has been causing growing concern in South Africa, a nation of 50 million people that largely reveres Mandela for being the nation's first democratically elected president who sought to unite the country after apartheid rule.

In January 2011, Mandela was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection.

The chaos that followed the former leader's stay at that public hospital, with journalists and the curious surrounding it and entering wards, saw the South African military take charge of his care and the government control information about his health.

Mandela has a history with lung problems. He fell ill with tuberculosis in 1988 toward the tail-end of his prison years. While doctors said it caused no permanent damage to his lungs, doctors and experts say it can cause problems years later for those infected.

Mandela was a leader in the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa and once he emerged from 27 years in prison in 1990, he won worldwide acclaim for urging reconciliation.

He won South Africa's first truly democratic elections in 1994, serving one five-year term before later retiring from public life to live in his remote village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.

He last made a public appearance when his country hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

Mandela disengaged himself from the country's politics over the last decade but continued campaigning against AIDS. He has grown increasing frail in recent years.