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MBABANE – The country has been hit by another drugs shortage.

A majority of public health facilities have recorded a shortage of 40 medical drugs which are used to treat a variety of diseases and infections. Most of the medicine that is either out of stock or in short supply includes antibiotics, which are known for fighting bacterial infections. Also recorded to be  out of stock in public health facilities are cold mixtures, which treat cough and other symptoms of flu. Other medication that is not available is the one that treats arthritis, fungus infection and painkillers. Also, T HALOPERIDOL, a mental health drug that treats schizophrenia, tics in Tourette syndrome, mania in bipolar disorder, nausea and vomiting, delirium, agitation, acute psychosis, and hallucinations after alcohol withdrawal is out of stock.

According to a source, who preferred to remain anonymous, healthcare workers were finding it hard to perform their duties due to the shortage of medication that has hit the country. “The worst part is mental health patients will now be affected as most of their medicine is not available,” he said. Yesterday, this publication published that a six-year-old epileptic girl could not get medication as it was not available at the Pigg’s Peak Government Hospital. The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) President, Bheki Mamba said the union was aware that the country had run out of some medical drugs. Mamba said with this, they were expecting that COVID-19 death cases would likely increase as the medication to treat underlying diseases was not available.

“We are in the middle of winter and people get sicker during this time. If they do not get treatment, their immune system will be weakened,” said Mamba. He said once people’s immune system was weak, they were prone to contracting COVID-19. “Most of the death cases had underlying illnesses. This simply means that coronavirus should find a person with a strong immune system,” he said. He said he hoped the issue of drug shortages in the country would be addressed soon. When sought for comment, Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula said he could not confirm whether all the drugs on the list were not available. “We have a jargon that we use when referring to our medication,” said Magagula. However, he did confirm that the country was experiencing a shortage of drugs. He said currently, the Ministry of Health was lacking funds to have sufficient medical supplies.

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