GETTING WORSE DAY BY DAY
Patients admitted and seeking treatment at local hospitals are at risk and waste their time hoping for any service as visiting any of the government hospitals is rapidly becoming suicidal, even if that situation warrants serious attention of a health worker.
Government continues to be short of essential drugs or medication and utilities to assist patients with any ailment.
The penniless Eswatini government owes millions of Emalangeni to companies supplying drugs, medication and supplies to local hospitals. The companies are failing to further provide government with the needed medical supplies the country dearly needs to save the situation that is becoming catastrophic.
Sources within the health sector have described the situation at the government hospitals and clinics as a calamity. The sources say the prevailing environment at the hospitals has a negative impact on health workers as much as it is with the patients hoping for assistance. It is said the issue of lack of food supplies is one of the few challenges the local hospitals have as reported by the media.
Sources allege that patients are dying in numbers as health workers are helpless on how to assist with the lack medication, drugs and other utilities for them to execute their job at the local hospitals.
Nurses who confided to the Observer on Saturday on condition of anonymity said while ethically they cannot declare patient deaths due to lack of drugs and medication, the reality is that the situation is bad.
The nurses allege that the local health sector has run out of needles, drugs, important medication and other necessities for health workers to execute their work effectively.
They further allege that the situation is frustrating to both patients and health workers as government is failing to provide answers to the deteriorating situation, which has now grounded the health system operations in the country.
The situation is said to have not been alarming in the other areas due to the direct assistance that was being implemented by the Health sector non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working directly with local hospitals and clinics.
The direct support of the health sector NGOs came in handy as they decided to aid directly with commodities than putting money to the government coffers.
“The direct supplies from the health sector NGOs has been giving false hope to government hoping to buy time yet the situation was worsening by the day,” says the source, adding that the government fiscal challenges have weakened the health system in the country.
While important progress has been made by the country in connecting patients to essential treatment, thousands of people continue to get assistance on treatable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and even the important ART, thanks to the NGO and donor community.
The collapse of the health system risks a strain in the country’s economy as a reversing the situation will be hard. Sources who refused to be named said the country will not survive the situation where the nation has an uncontrolled epidemic. They said the situation can put a strain to the few hospitals and clinics, getting new supplies can take days if that can happen now.
The source said once an epidemic emerges, all resources need to be focused on it in order to save many lives.
The source said government must act fast in sorting her issues with the suppliers to avoid a situation where disease can take control of the situation.
The source made an example of TB and said if the situation continues, it was unimaginable what will happen to the patients who are currently treated for defaulting.
“Imagine those people who are on ART and the drugs are no longer on supply; what will happen to the infection rate the country has fought so hard to reduce?
“The current situation started to manifest itself long time ago and the outgoing government played politics with people’s lives.
Government, instead of dealing with the issue, started the blame game instead of fixing the issues of supplies,” said the sources.
They added that after nurses downed their tools to protest the dire situation, government released all available supplies from storage facilities countrywide and the situation was only resolved for a few days. But afterwards, the situation was back to the present crisis experienced.