Monday, August 26, 2019

Number of child deaths from diarrhoea in Swaziland rises to 11

The number of children known to have died in the current outbreak of diarrhoea in Swaziland / eSwatini has risen to 11, the charity WaterAid reported.

This was revealed at a workshop on hygiene held at Pigg’s Peak.

WaterAid Eswatini Research Manager Ncamiso Mhlanga said the main contribution to these deaths were poor sanitation methods, mainly at home or day care centres where these children stay.

Swazi Director of Health Services Vusi Magagula reported in early August 2019 that six children had died over a period of four days and about another 1,000 others had been treated for the infection caused by the rota virus. 

Deaths from this preventable disease occur in the kingdom every year. But the government, ruled by King Mswati III as the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, is broke and continually fails to tackle to problem.

Diarrhoea is a bowel infection often caused by contaminated water or food. According to the website of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a 25-pack of one dose vials of rotavirus vaccine to immunise against diarrhoea costs US70.49 (E1,050) at commercial rates. Typically a child needs two doses to be immunised.

Swaziland is broke and public services are grinding to a halt. All kinds of medicines are in short supply in public hospitals and clinics because the government has failed to pay suppliers. Nursing posts and other vacancies remain unfilled as part of a government policy to cut its wages bill. At least 400 qualified nurses are unemployed, Dr Magagula recently told a meeting of pensioners in Mbabane.
See also

Six children die in Swaziland in diarrhoea outbreak. Vaccines short since government has not paid suppliers
Swaziland nurses picket, drugs run out, lives put at risk as government fails to pay suppliers

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