GET­TING WORSE DAY BY DAY

Observer on Saturday - - News - Sto­ries by Sicelo Maziya

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.

Work­ers

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.

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