Nurses in Swaziland (eSwatini) will refuse to treat patients until the government supplies them with protective clothing. They fear they might catch the coronavirus.
Members of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union marched on the Swazi Ministry of health to deliver a petition.
They say there is no suitable equipment available and want gloves, masks, soap, sanitizers and gowns. They added some hospitals did not even have running water.
The march on Tuesday (17 March 2020) came on the same day the kingdom’s absolute monarch King Mswati III declared a state of emergency. Schools, colleges and universities will close indefinitely and gatherings of 50 people or more are banned. There are also travel restrictions.
Separately, nurses at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital (RFM) reportedly refused to treat patients on Monday.
The Swaziland News, an online newspaper, reported they were demanding protective clothing. It said some patients had to return home without being treated.
According to a report in 2019 from the World Health Organisation there were not enough doctors, nurses and support staff in Swaziland. It stated the kingdom had an inadequate health workforce in both numbers and skills.
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