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MBABANE – These are the last days for the National Tuberculosis Hospital located at Moneni. Government is currently exploring alternative uses of the hospital, because it feels the country has achieved the fight against TB to a stage where this particular hospital is no longer necessary.

Finance Minister Neal Rijkenberg yesterday told parliamentarians that due to the decline in TB incidences as well as prevalence in the country, the National TB Hospital recorded a low-bed occupancy rate.

“With an existing TB facility in Nhlangano that is big enough to cater for all of the patients, government is conducting an assessment to determine the possibility of alternative use of the National TB Hospital to better suit the needs of the population,” the minister said.
In 2017, the Ministry of Health identified this hospital as a possible centre to house Ebola patients, in the event there was an outbreak of the disease in the country.

This was met with resistance from residents from areas around the hospital, who said they already had exposure to a serious and highly-infectious disease in TB and wanted no other similar disease in the area.

Eswatini once accounted for a significant portion of the 9.4 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths each year due to TB globally, but interventions that were rolled out over the years saw an improvement.


Currently, a majority of patients of drug-resistant TB receive home-based treatment through the National TB Hospital while others receive treatment in Mankayane, Matsapha and Nhlangano health facilities.

The minister said the 2020/2021 budget of E24.1 billion, which he tabled yesterday, would see E2.3 billion being allocated to the Ministry of Health.
This is 10.5 per cent of the total national budget.

He said part of this would cater for other programmes and activities towards the fight against HIV/AIDS which were being successfully implemented.
One of these is the procurement of ARVs which will take up E274 million.

He pointed out that these programmes had greatly assisted in the reduction of HIV incidences from 2.9 per cent in 2011 to 1.4 per cent in 2019.
“This means that fewer people are getting infected with HIV. This success has been achieved due to government and partners’ investments in these programmes. We would like to give a special thanks to PEPFAR, the Global Fund, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the UN Agencies for their support.”


Other listed achievements under the health sector include international recognition for management of the Mass Medicine Administration Programme; the success in switching vaccines to introduce a vaccine that is administered fewer times and gives immunisation for life; and the establishment of the Malaria Fund.

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