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TLC STAFF, PATIENTS PLEAD FOR GOVT SUBVENTION

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SIDVOKODVO - The Luke Commission (TLC) staff and patents’ plea to government is that it should intervene in the hospital’s financial challenges to avoid what they referred to as a disaster.

In fact, they asked government to include TLC in its budget for the Ministry of Health, so that it can receive subvention to assist in sustaining it. They also asked government partners and the corporate world to assist the facility. The TLC staff members and patients said this when briefing the media about their concerns following reports that the health facility could suspend operations anytime because of the financial challenges it was facing. The press briefing was held at the facility’s premises yesterday.

Risk

They argued that if the facility could close, the about one-third of the country’s population (300 000) outpatients and inpatients, who receive medical assistance from the hospital annually, would be at risk. They said this was because under prevailing health crisis in the country, where public health facilities were continuously hit by shortage of drugs, the health facilities could not absorb the TLC patients, whom they refer to as ‘most important people (VIPs)’.

In fact, they said TLC’s VIPs came from the four regions of the country because they were supposedly not getting the required assistance from public health facilities which were closer to them.In that regard, they said they believed that since TLC was in the financial crisis it was facing because of the drastic increase of VIPs (increase of 450 per cent over the past five years), the shortage of medical drugs in public health facilities was also a contributing factor.

Financial

They argued that some of the patients became TLC’s VIPs because at public health facilities, they were given prescription to go and buy the medical drugs from pharmacies, but they did not have the financial muscle to purchase the medication, thus they ended up preferring to go to this facility, which assist them free of charge.

One of the staff members, who joined TLC in 2018, said they were distributed by the breaking news about the possible closure of TLC. He said due to the values which they learnt at TLC (that off loving the patients and putting them first), they became more worried about their VIPs, more than them as workers. “We have qualifications, we can apply somewhere else and get jobs, but what will happen to our VIPs - they will die. The question is; their lives will be in whose hands?” the staff member asked.

Another one highlighted that despite those who visit the health facility on a daily basis, there were those who were on oxygen and if removed, they would die. He said the question was what would happen to them if the facility suspends operations? Again, one of the workers who also joined the establishment in 2018 said during COVID-19, when the health sector was saturated and ran out of oxygen, government failed to set up even a provisional oxygen plant.

On the other hand, TLC established a multi-million Emalangeni oxygen plant and it saved a lot of lives. However, he said now government, instead of supporting the initiative; says the oxygen does not meet the standard set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). By so doing, he said the multi-million Emalangeni project was becoming a white elephant and government was importing oxygen.

“Our plea is that government should also be seen supporting this project so that it meets that required standard because it will also get oxygen cheaper than importing it from neighbouring countries and the nation will benefit,” the worker said.

Mountains

Once more, another TLC healthcare worker said during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing crisis of shortage of drugs (in public health facilities), a number of patients actually stared death in the face, but the TLC team climbed mountains to ensure that they recover and they were living testimonies of the good work of the facility. They said their wish was that the outgoing Cabinet should consider the matter before its term of office expires because anything could happen between their last day in office and when new cabinet would be put in place. In fact, there could be disaster and lives could be lost.

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