At least five people have died as a result of the shortage of medicines gripping Swaziland, a Swazi senator has reported.
Senator Prince Kekela told parliament that the five people he knew about were related to him.
Kekela called on the Swazi Government to spend more money on stocking the kingdom’s hospitals with medicines instead of applying to Kuwait for a loan of E20.1 million (US$1.56 million) to build a new referral hospital.
Swaziland which is ruled by King Mswati III sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch has been in the grip of a crisis for a number of weeks. About US$18 million was reportedly owed to drug companies last month (May 2017) and they suspended delivery of medicines until bills were paid.
The Times of Swaziland reported at that time the House of Assembly, ‘called for the suspension of all other projects while this matter was being sorted, wondering what benefit would be achieved if the country had beautiful roads or buildings yet had a dying nation’.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (8 June 2017), ‘The prince’s observation was that Swaziland was not ready for the construction of a referral hospital but instead it should be using the loan on stocking medication, which reached crisis state a couple of months ago.’
As ordinary people die in the health crisis the Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini revealed that King Mswati and his mother paid for him to travel to Taiwan for his own medical treatment. Dlamini was not elected PM by the people of Swaziland. He was personally appointed by the King, as were all other government ministers and top judges in the kingdom. None of Swaziland’s senators are elected by the people.
Dlamini recently celebrated his 75th birthday. The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported (5 June 2017), ‘The Prime Minister said he was grateful that when Their Majesties were informed about his ailment in April, they responded hastily and ordered that he be taken to the best doctors in Taiwan, Taipei.
‘“Their Majesties gave orders that I go to the best and well experienced doctors in Taiwan. I am now looking forward to turning 76 years and I thank God for keeping me safe,” he said.’
The nature of his illness has not been publicly revealed.
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