Times of Eswatini
NO FOOD AT GOVT HOSPITAL, NURSES PICKET
MBABANE - Mbabane Government Hospital employees yesterday marched to deliver a petition to the Ministry of Health after patients at the hospital had been without meals for two consecutive days. INSETS: Some of the messages on placards.
MBABANE – Patients at the Mbabane Government Hospital have been without meals for two consecutive days.
On Wednesday around 5pm, this reporter visited Ward 16, where patients still hoped they would get served with a meal. In an interview with some of the patients, they stated that they had decided to put the medication aside as there was nothing in their tummies.
Narrating their ordeal, the patients stated that the issue of the inadequate food started early last month where the kitchen staff dished very little food to try and ration it.
“Towards the end of October, the situation worsened and today we were shocked when we realised that nothing was served for lunch and supper,” said the patients.
They further said they were now looking after each other and if one had food, they shared it. The patients stated that from buying their own medication, they were now forced to buy their own food.
The above reaction sparked a protest action by the nurses, kitchen staff and orderlies whom, as early as 7:30am yesterday, demonstrated around the hospital premises, including the wards, maternity and the administration block.
Following the devastating situation of patients starving and having to take medication on empty stomachs, nurses in partnership with the other hospital staff failed to contain their anger and made their voice heard through demonstrating.
The hospital employees sang struggle songs and moved around some of the wards and also around the hospital premises.
At around 10am, the employees decided to break the rules following the banning of marches by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and get to petition the Ministry of Health.
Security personnel who tried to stop them near the Meteorological Department failed and had to call their seniors. The hospital workers were met by Superintendent Charles Simelane along His Majesty’s Correctional Services Headquarters, who questioned their mission before guiding them to the ministry. However, there was no one to receive them at the ministry as they were told that the Principal Secretary Dr Simon Zwane, had accompanied the minister in an outreach vaccination and activation tour at Siphocosini. The hospital workers were joined by the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU)
President Welcome Mdluli.
Eventually, the petition was received by the Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula at 11:23am.
Before the reading of the petition by the Mbabane Government Hospital Nurses Committee Chairperson, Mdluli informed the nurses that before joining the profession, they swore that they would not harm patients.
The president stated that if nurses continued to give the patients medication on empty stomachs, they were endangering their lives. He stated that if the situation continued, they would have no choice but to seek donations and that would be an embarrassment to the ministry.
Mdluli informed the director that the Mbabane branch had visited his office because of the situation they were faced with.
Mdluli said as a national referral hospital, what was happening at the hospital was taboo. He said if the situation failed to normalise, they would be forced to visit the Ministry of Finance.
Mdluli stated that this was because the Finance Ministry was in charge of all the finances in the country, including the taxes which should be used to purchase medication for hospitals among other things. The president said they had noted that everything was donated to the ministry including beds for the patients and ambulances.