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MANZINI – There should be a three-month buffer stock of drugs, according to the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU).

Secretary General (SG) of SWADNU Mayibongwe Masangane, said the issue of drug shortages in hospitals had resulted in his union constantly meeting the administration of the Ministry of Health. “As an organisation, we have been meeting with the Ministry of Health and discussing possible solutions to the problem of drug shortage. The procurement system of government needs to be reviewed and or improved. There should be three months buffer stock to ensure that the CMS (Central Medical Stores) does not run out of any medication at any given time,” he said.


It is worth noting that Parliament in recent months discussed the shortage of medication and among the challenges, it was said medical supplies and pharmaceuticals were requisitioned from CMS on time, but delivered late. The shortage of fuel and transport was at the core of the challenges that were raised and the Ministry of Health has in various instances affirmed that there was a challenge with transport and fuel. On the other hand, Masangane said shortage of drugs and pharmaceuticals in the public health sector was a perennial challenge, that had seemingly been normalised.

He said it was saddening to see that the healthcare system seemed to be collapsing in all aspects. He said this affected his cadre in delivering quality health care to the nation. The SG said drug shortages ended up setting up nurses against the nation. “Government continues to make accusations that nurses steal drugs yet it knows clearly that those drugs have not been supplied,” he said. It is worth noting that several reports were published by this publication wherein some healthcare workers were found to have stolen pharmaceuticals and or medical supplies.

In May 2022, this publication reported that three public health facilities were piloting the logistics management information sytsem  (LMIS), as means to avert stock-out of medical supplies. This, according to the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health, Dr Simon Zwane, communication between the CMS and public healthcare facilities was set to be tightened. He had said the Ministry of Health, through financing from the Global Fund, was piloting the LMIS Programme in three healthcare  facilities, namely: Pigg’s Peak Government Hospital, Dvokolwako Health Centre and Lobamba Clinic.


The LMIS Programme seeks to ensure that communication between the CMS and health facilities is fluid.  Zwane said the same ought to be the case with healthcare facilities such that they were also able to know the stock status of the CMS. Dr Zwane said the pilot project was set to assist government in closing the gaps. The PS said the ministry’s plan was to implement the LMIS at 22 other facilities. He said the LMIS would interface with the client management information system (CMIS), which would hopefully help them reduce unnecessary over and repeated prescription per patient. Dr Zwane also acknowledged that inconsistent supply of fuel was a major challenge contributing to shortages in healthcare facilities. He said an attempt to have fuel bowsers at the CMS were unsuccessful.

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