Pha­lala Fund headache in Moza

Sunday Observer - - FRONT PAGE - BY FOR­TUNE NDLANGAMANDLA AND THEMBEKA DLAMINI

Emaswati trans­ferred to other coun­tries through Pha­lala Fund for med­i­cal help face lan­guage bar­ri­ers which may re­sult in them not get­ting de­sired as­sis­tance.

The lan­guage bar­rier has al­legedly re­sulted in a Li s wati who was t a ken to Mozam­bique dying while un­der­go­ing an eye op­er­a­tion a few weeks ago.

A rel­a­tive to the de­ceased per­son said she was sent to Ma­puto to an eye spe­cial­ist, but she never made it back alive.

Re­ports state that there is a post-mortem re­port, this pub­li­ca­tion could not as­cer­tain its au­then­tic­ity as it was not con­firmed as of­fi­cial.

Pre­vi­ously, the per­cep­tion was that lo­cals were only trans­ferred to South African hospi­tals for spe­cial­ist care; how­ever, a size­able num­ber are also taken to neigh­bour­ing Mozam­bique.

As such, a Se­nior Prince was un­til two months ago treated in Mozam­bique un­til he suc­cumbed to an ill­ness. Sev­eral other royal fam­ily mem­bers make reg­u­lar vis­its to Ma­puto where they get spe­cial­ist care as do or­di­nary mem­bers of the pub- lic. Of note, the ma­jor­ity of pa­tients who are taken to Mozam­bique are those who need eye care.

The coun­try l ost ser­vices of world ac­claimed high – tech eye spe­cial­ist af­ter they made losses due to the fact that there was not enough busi­ness to sus­tain in­vest­ment. The spe­cial­ists came to the coun­try in 2016.

While South African hospi­tals have be­come re­luc­tant to ser­vice lo­cals due to fail­ure by Pha­lala Fund to pay debts, the traf­fic to Mozam­bique is said to have in­creased.

In June, Pha­lala Fund was re­port­edly ow­ing South African’s med­i­cal cen­tres about E96 715 000.

Mozam­bique has sev­eral of­fi­cial lan­guages such as Shangaan and Por­tuguese and these are not eas­ily un­der­stood by lo­cals as they only speak in English and Siswati.

Ad­dress­ing the is­sue, Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Health Dr Si­mon Zwane said they were con­cerned by fail­ure to treat Emaswati of their dis­eases in the coun­try.

He ac­knowl­edged that once pa­tients get re­ferred to other coun­tries, lan­guage bar­rier was one of the chal­lenges they faced.

“We are not say­ing that the pa­tients are be­ing killed by the lan­guage bar­rier but you may find that due to com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­down some as­sis­tance may not be given ac­cord­ingly,” Zwane ex­plained.

He men­tioned that when a health prac­ti­tioner at­tends to a pa­tient; com­mu­ni­ca­tion was sig­nif­i­cant as they have to be on the same page on pro­ceed­ings. He said this predica­ment faced was due to the fact that the coun­try was cur­rently in­ca­pable of of­fer­ing all med­i­cal ser­vices.

When asked about the num­ber of pa­tients who died while in Mozam­bique for med­i­cal at­ten­tion, Dr Zwane said the in­ci­dent of the wo­man who died while un­der­go­ing treat­ment in Mozam­bique was a first one.

He added that he had not re­ceived the re­port about the death of the wo­man; as he ex­pected to have it to­mor­row.

He pointed out that most pa­tients sent to Mozam­bique are those who needed to be at­tended to by eye spe­cial­ists.

On the other hand, re­ports that the coun­try has s i g ned a Mem­o­ran­dum of Understanding (MoU) with In­dia have emerged. It was re­ported that pa­tients would in the fu­ture be trans­ferred to In­dia for med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

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