Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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

Patients in a public hospital in Swaziland / eSwatini were only fed two slices of bread at meals when food ran out because the government had not paid suppliers. 

It was reported the bakery would only deliver bread if it was paid in advance. 

Swaziland is reeling from a health crisis because the government has not paid it debts. Nurses plan a protest march against government.

The Times of Swaziland reported on Monday (18 June 2019) that the food shortage hit two public hospitals, Hlatikhulu Government Hospital and Nhlangano Health Centre, both in the Shiselweni Region.

It reported at Hlatikhulu, ‘patients revealed that for the past week, hospital staff had been dishing only two slices of dry bread for all the meals of the day’.

It added, ‘An interviewed patient said there was a brief relief on Tuesday when they were given porridge and soup. Thereafter, the patient said they were back to the bread supply.’

At Nhlangano it was reported staff paid for food out of their own money.

In the past food shortages have been reported at the Mbabane Government Hospital and again at Hlatikhulu Government Hospital. 

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.

Members of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) plan to march and deliver a petition to the Ministry of Health on Friday (22 June 2019) to demand it addresses the drugs shortage. 

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

HIV drugs not available across Swaziland as health crisis deepens

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

Report: patients die as Swaziland government hospital runs out of cash

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