Friday, July 5, 2019

Food collection points set up in Swaziland as hospital patients unfed after Govt fails to pay suppliers

Collection points have been set up across Mbabane, the Swaziland / eSwatini capital, to collect donations to feed hospital patients left hungry after the government failed to pay food suppliers.

It is the latest development in the financial crisis that is striking the kingdom ruled by absolute monarch, King Mswati III.

Patients in hospitals across Swaziland are going unfed, medicines of all sorts have run out, and hospital equipment has broken down. The government which is not elected but handpicked by the King is broke and has not paid suppliers. Other public services, including schools are also hit.

Food banks organised by members of the public working as the ‘Emergency Disaster Network’ have set up collection points for donations at various points across the city for patients at the Mbabane Government Hospital. Food items, ranging from bags of beans, rice, chicken portions and sugar have been collected, the Swazi Observer reported. Cash donations have also been made.

The health crisis has been growing in recent years.  The Observer reported Health Minister, Lizzy Nkosi, ‘has explained that some of the shortages were as a result of suppliers cutting supply because of outstanding payments, which runs into millions of Emalangeni’.

It was reported in June 2019 that the food shortage had also hit two other public hospitals, Hlatikhulu Government Hospital and Nhlangano Health Centre, both in the Shiselweni Region.

The food problem is one of many facing the health service in Swaziland which is caused by the government’s inability to pay suppliers. There are shortages of many drugs across the kingdom. Local media reported in the past that many people, including children, have died as a result.

It is not only a problem of drugs. Hospital equipment, including at intensive-care units at Mbabane Government Hospital, has also not been maintained and cannot be used. 

In June 2018 it was revealed there were only 12 working public ambulances in the whole of Swaziland because the government failed to maintain them. It had bought no new ambulances since 2013.

See also

Swaziland hospital crisis: govt not paid bills so patients only eat bread

HIV drugs not available across Swaziland as health crisis deepens

HIV drugs not available across Swaziland as health crisis deepens

Swaziland health crisis getting worse as budgets cut. Rural areas most affected

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