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SOME PATIENTS LEAVE BEDS TO JOIN NURSES’ PROTEST

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MBABANE – Some patients admitted to the Mbabane Government Hospital dumped their beds and joined health workers to demand for drugs and medical supplies, which the health facility had run out of.

The patients are outraged by the fact that they have to buy UV fluids (drips), injections and needles among other things. Sithembiso Tsabedze, who was admitted on June 19, 2023, said while they wished to recover soon from their sicknesses and return to their families, government was allegedly making it impossible. Tsabedze said he was shocked when he was told to buy gauze, which he paid E1 500 for. He said as patients they were struggling and unemployed, hence they were failing to cope with the current situation. Tsabedze said most of them were self-employed and could not raise the funds needed.

“When we see health workers, we see people who are life savers and do not understand when they tell us there are no drugs.” He urged government to look into the issue and act accordingly. Sambulo Ndzinisa, who was admitted on May 27, 2023, urged the Ministry of Health to act immediately on their plight as they were forced to buy everything they needed to help them recover from their ailments. Ndzinisa said it was unfair that they would be required to pay for the number of days they had stayed in the hospital yet they had bought their own medication. He accused the ministry of setting them up against the health workers, whom they interacted with during their stay in the hospital.

Informed

Handing over the petition, Mbabane Government Hospital Unit Committee Chairperson Sanele Gwebu said members of the public had been formerly informed about the status of the facility to protect healthcare workers. Gwebu said they were disturbed by reports from the minister of health that there was a truck which delivered drugs and medical supplies this week. “We did not see any truck delivering at the hospital,” Gwebu stated. He said the last time they saw a truck delivering drugs and medical supplies at the facility was in February and they actually saw a van on Tuesday, which had come to deliver a few things. Gwebu said the situation at the hospital was dire and they needed urgent help.

He said it pained them as healthcare workers to wake up and report to work every day knowing that there were no crucial working tools to save lives.
He said asthma patients who required nebulisers were also affected as the hospital did not have them. “We should be aware that if a person has difficulty breathing, they were likely to lose their lives,” he said.

Attended

Gwebu said recently, a nurse who attended to an asthmatic patient had to fetch her own medication to treat the patient. When receiving the petition, the Principal Secretary (PS) in the ministry, Dr Simon Zwane, said they were aware of the issues raised. Dr Zwane said as the PS in the Prime Minister’s office had alluded, government was also aware of the issues of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, staff shortages as well as the transport shortage. He further emphasised that government prioritised the concerns.

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