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MBABANE – Enough is enough.

This is a stance some patients at the Mbabane Government have seemingly taken after it emerged that they are now discharging themselves from the hospital beds without the doctors’ recommendation amid the lack of medical drugs in the country. When the Eswatini News paid a visit to the hospital two days ago, most of the wards were close to being empty as most of the patients decided to pack their bags and head home.

The situation now is such that only those patients who have the financial capacity to buy medical drugs from pharmacies are remaining in the hospital. At least three nurses confirmed to this publication the decision by some patients to discharge themselves from the hospital, warning that the issue of insufficient medical drugs was now getting out of control.   

The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union, a labour organisation that stands and fights for the rights of all nurses in the kingdom, has already been informed about the ‘exodus’ of patients at the Mbabane Government Hospital and it is not happy about it. This was confirmed by the Union’s Secretary-General Mayibongwe Masangane, who admitted that the situation the patients are finding themselves in is unbearable.


“Yes, I am aware that some patients are discharging themselves because they are not getting the medical help in the hospital. I would do the same if I were in their shoes. It really does not help them to stay in the hospital yet they are not getting medical drugs to treat their ailments. This is the kind is situation that is not giving us any hope,” Masangane said.

Adding, the secretary general challenged the sub-committee appointed by the government to stand up and take action to address the medical drugs shortage in the country.  “The patients are tired of the empty promises. We want to see results from the sub-committee appointed to address the issue of medical drugs. “As things are now, there is no point of being admitted in hospital when there are no medical drugs to treat the patients. It is not surprising that some patients prefer discharging themselves from the hospital now, it is a hopeless situation,” Masangane said.

A nurse, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said some of the patients who have discharged themselves from the hospital have vowed not to set foot there until they find the purpose to be admitted. “To be honest, you cannot blame the patients for discharging themselves because we are not giving them the medical assistance they came here for. Some are saying that they would rather be at their respective homes than being admitted in the hospital that has no medical drugs.

“The situation is very bad and one hopes government will give this issue priority and identity a long-term solution. The problem is that some of the patients are blaming us as nurses for neglecting them,” she said. Director of Health Services Dr Velephi Okello said there were protocols patients needed to follow when raising concerns about their welfare in the hospital, pointing out that it was within their (patients) rights to ask for discharge.


“It must be clear that patients are not forced to stay in the hospital because that is not jail. The procedure is that if a patient wants to be discharged, there is nothing stopping that. A doctor’s recommendation for a patient’s discharge is normally the right way to go but if the patient insists on leaving the hospital, there are hospital forms filled to grant that permission,” she said.

The doctor further advised the patients with concerns to report them with the hospital management through the customer care service, insisting that they (management) have the interests of the patients at heart. “We will look into this issue going forward but we plead with the patients to raise their concerns with the management so that they can be addressed quickly,” she appealed.

The decision by the patients to discharge themselves comes at a time when the Ministry of Health announced that the shortage of medical drugs will be addressed next year. A sub-committee, headed by Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo, was set up to find lasting solutions to the medical drugs shortage and is yet to present a comprehensive report on their findings.

Health Ministry Principal Secretary (PS) Khanya Mabuza shared the same sentiments as the Director of Health Services, advising the patients with concerns to raise such with the hospital’s customer care service. “We are working very hard to revamp things at the hospital and the patients should feel free to raise whatever concerns they have with management so that they can be addressed.

“Right now, we are only hearing that patients have concerns, but are not able to verify them because they are not coming through the right platforms. It is our hope that the concerns they have will be given the attention they deserve by the hospital management,” Mabuza said.

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