Observer on Saturday - - News - Sto­ries by Nozipho Sibiya

Nurses have given gov­ern­ment 21 days to sort out the drug short­age cri­sis that is crip­pling pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties in the coun­try.

TheSwazi­landNurs­esAs­so­ci­a­tion (SNA) de­liv­ered a pe­ti­tion to the min­istry of health yes­ter­day, de­mand­ing the min­istry sort out two ma­jor is­sues af­fect­ing the nurses at Pigg’s Peak and Hlathikhulu Hos­pi­tals. The pe­ti­tion de­liv­ered to the min­istry had about five de­mands.

The pe­ti­tion was re­ceived by the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary at the Min­istry of Health Dr Si­mon Zwane.

The meet­ing that lasted for about twohour­swashel­datCoop­erCen­tre in the pres­ence of the PS, po­lice of­fi­cers, SWADNU ex­ec­u­tive and other nurse’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives. In a writ­ten pe­ti­tion ad­dressed to the PS, the nurses as­so­ci­a­tion clearly stated that at Pigg’s Peak Hos­pi­tal,` there is a se­vere short­age of nurses and drugs.

Pigg’s Peak Hos­pi­tal is a re­gional re­fer­ral which ser­vices the en­tire north­ern part of the king­dom; there­fore the hos­pi­tal is ex­pected to pro­vide all health ser­vices as per the re­quire­ment by in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

“In some de­part­ments it has been months since drugs such as olan­za­p­ine, amongst other drugs have been sup­plied. The fa­cil­ity does not haveeve­nas­in­gleanti-anx­i­ety­drug. Iti­sev­en­wors­esincethere­are­classes of drugs whereby there are no al­ter­na­tive drugs avail­able which jeop­ar­dise the ser­vice ren­dered by the fa­cil­ity,” reads the pe­ti­tion.

Olan­za­p­ine is amongst the drugs re­port­edly out of stock at the hos­pi­tal. Olan­za­p­ine is a drug used to treatschizophre­ni­aand­cer­tain­types of bipo­lar dis­or­ders.

It’s also used in com­bi­na­tion with an an­tide­pres­sant to treat de­pres­sion that can’t be con­trolled with other drugs.

The nurses also stated in the pe­ti­tion that they were short- staffed.

“The present nurses are now fa­tigued be­cause they are ex­pected to work four night shifts twice a month,” reads the pe­ti­tion. They said there was a des­per­ate need for more nurses to en­sure all pa­tients are prop­erly cared for and have proper med­i­ca­tion.

In ad­di­tion, the nurses said the min­istry of health must sort the staffing is­sues which they said was very crit­i­cal to them and the pa­tients as well.

The nurses there­fore de­mand the min­istry to ad­vo­cate for waiv­ing of the re­cently amended cir­cu­lar which speaks to the cre­ation and fill­ing up of va­cant posts.

“We also de­mand pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of the Pigg’s Peak health fa­cil­ity. MOH in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Re­gion­alHealthMan­age­men­tTeam andtheHospi­talMan­age­men­tre­view the es­tab­lish­ment regis­ter for Pigg’s Peak Gov­ern­ment Hos­pi­tal to im­prove the sta­tus of this in­sti­tu­tion into one that shall dili­gently serve the nation,” reads the pe­ti­tion. The min­istry is re­quired to also make sure that there is a con­sis­tent sup­ply of drugs in the hos­pi­tal and equip­ment.

21 DAYS: Swazi­land Nurses As­so­ci­a­tion (SNA) and SWADNU mem­bers on their way to the Cooper Cen­tre build­ing where they met Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Dr Si­mon Zwane.

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