Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober has announced his resignation on health reasons after he collapsed a second time in one week.
The 60-year-old made the announcement in Vienna on Tuesday.
“I realised that I now have to pull the emergency brake for myself,” the Green politician said, adding that the country needs a fit health minister in this phase.
Africa’s government officials, particularly presidents, are not known to voluntarily resign when facing difficult health situations.
After a plane crash, the then-governor of Taraba, Danbaba Suntai, was in dire health conditions and held on to power until he died two days to clocking 55.
Former President Umaru Yar’Adua was incapacitated for months in a foreign hospital and held on to power by proxy with his household and political associates running the country.
In the height of his ill-health, Nigeria’s incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari admitted that he had never “been this sick.” He was away in a London hospital for months battling an undisclosed ill-health.
In April, Mr Buhari flew to the UK on a “medical vacation,” while his country’s health system is in disarray.
Accused of being sickly and lethargic, Mr Buhari has refused calls to resign by the opposition and critics.
Mr Anschober has been in charge of the health portfolio, which became the key ministry in the pandemic since the start of the government of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (OeVP) and the Greens in January 2020.
He had been working through it for 14 months.
Mr Anschober had suffered burnout during his years as provincial minister in Upper Austria.
In the summer of 2020, his no-nonsense demeanour made him so popular at times that he ousted Chancellor Sebastian Kurz from the top spot in opinion polls of federal politicians.
“One of my assets is that I actually become very calm in crisis situations,” Mr Anschober once said.
However, he was also responsible for numerous technical errors in the flood of regulations issued by his office during the pandemic.
He was recently blamed for problems at the start of the vaccination campaign and communication breakdowns.
A top official in his department allegedly failed to inform him about the possibility of further orders for vaccine doses.
This led to an open conflict with Mr Kurz.
Mr Anschober’s departure meant that Mr Kurz has to replace a member of the government for the second time.
In January, family and labour minister Christine Aschbacher resigned after allegations of plagiarism surrounding her master’s thesis and dissertation.