Mbabane: Minister of Health, Lizzy Nkosi has said they haven’t thought of engaging the Cuban doctors on a full time basis specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic because the situation is under control despite the rising numbers and all they can do is to encourage the public to adhere to the government’s COVID-19 regulations.
Nkosi said depending on the persistence of the situation, they will in the not so distant future require specific services from Cuba who will assign practioners for the task, at a cost. According to Nkosi, the Cuban doctors who are in the country are part of an on-going mission which began 14 years ago as a matter of routine and not on specified assignments.
Recently, the Republic of South Africa acquired the services of 217 Cuban doctors to help overwhelmed hospitals deal with the spread of the coronavirus. The projected costs for the services as reported by Business Day is E440 million. Documents showed that the average cost of the Cuban medical brigade was projected at E2.35 million per person.
The doctors were met on arrival by a group of South African ministers on April 28. Among the doctors are epidemiologists, public health experts, general practitioners and healthcare technology engineers.
South Africa is the second hardest-hit country on the African continent and as of April 28 its official figures stood at 4,546 cases of Covid-19 and 87 deaths.
The doctors also come to other African countries including South Africa. Others are Italy, Jamaica, Venezuela, Suriname and Grenada where they go on to assist in curbing the spread of the new coronavirus called COVID-19.
Will Eswatini be able to pay money?
If the narrative that government does not have money is anything to go by, but against that backdrop, a total E47 million in kind and E70 million in cash has been raised by both government, businesses, individuals in Eswatini and development partners. Parliament also approved a sum of E100 million for the fight against COVID-19.
The country has recently sought debt service relief loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, approaching the Fund for a E647 million emergency loan to help fight the threatening COVID-19 crisis.
Reports suggested that grants would be provided to the poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and would help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts. The country was rejected based on the premise that it did not fall under the category of poor countries. Eswatini has requested a grant of about US$ 500 million (about E9.3 billion).
Following the outbreak of COVID -19, the country approached the IMF for a loan amounting to E674 913 000 (about US$36.7 million) to be used in the fight against the pandemic. Eswatini also sought the BWIs to extend debt service relief to low-income African Countries for two years, urging the WBG and IMF to provide post-epidemic financial support and interventions to stabilise, improve and enhance the recovery efforts and resilience of our countries to deal with the pandemic and similar outbreaks that could have a significant impact on economies.
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