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SITEKI- Environmental health inspectors have recommended that Lubombo Referral hospital be closed due to unhygienic conditions.

This was revealed by regional health officials, during a tour of the facility by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), yesterday afternoon.
The facility officially started operating in October 2014 but the infrastructure is literally falling apart.

Some of the key operating equipment at the facility have broken down and this includes the incinerator.
An incinerator is an apparatus for burning waste material, especially industrial waste at high temperatures until it is reduced to ash.
Toilets at the facility are also not functioning well because of the poor quality of the flushing system.


The air conditioning system is also dysfunctional. The whole roof of the facility is leaking and this often disturbs the medical staff when treating patients.
Hospital Administrator Vumile Dlamini showed PAC members some of the rooms with leaking roofs.
At the laboratory, staff members literally have to mop the floor during the rainy season, she said.

In some rooms, there are falling ceilings and electricity transmitting cables, something which places the lives of both patients and staff in danger. Making the situation worse is that even staff houses have leaking roofs.
Lubombo Regional Health Administrator William Shongwe said officials from the public works department recently visited the facility and recommended that the whole roofing be started afresh.

He told PAC members that following the tour by public works officials, health inspectors also visited the facility to assess the situation.
Shongwe disclosed to the PAC that in their report, health inspectors recommended that the facility be shut down until the structure is rehabilitated.
PAC member MP Busisiwe Mavimbela suggested that the government engineer, who was supervising the company that constructed the structure should be taken to task for the apparent inefficiency.

She said it was worrying that government had spent millions constructing the facility, only for its structures to deteriorate in less than five years after it started operating.

PAC chairman MP Phila Buthelezi wondered why the hospital was seemingly being neglected by ministry of health officials while other facilities, like Mbabane Government hospital, were getting more attention.
“The other hospital in the region is more expensive than this one. The public needs this facility hence it should be rehabilitated before falling apart,” said Buthelezi.

He said the PAC would compile a report on its findings and then make recommendations, one of which is the allocation of a budget to complete phase one of the Lubombo referral hospital.

Lungile Shongwe, Under Secretary (technical) in the Ministry of Health, appreciated the visit by the PAC.
She told the PAC members that the ministry was doing all in its power to ensure that the facility operated in hygienic and standard health conditions.
However, she told PAC members that most of the challenges at the facility were caused by government’s cash flow challenges.

Construction of the Lubombo Referral hospital began with the clearing of the ground during the 2002/3 government financial year.
 However, the construction process was later halted for a number of years before it commenced in 2011.

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