Mbabane: The Eswatini Nurses Association has pointed out that they will take government to court for failure to provide medical supplies to hospitals across the country. This was revealed by the association’s president, Bheki Mamba during an interview with this publication.
Mamba said the failure to provide medication at the medical facilities across the country interferes with the work of the nurses and has led to their frustration and feelings of unworthiness.
The president said, as the association’s leadership they have agreed to take the legal route, following an unattended petition delivered by the association to the prime minister’s office early this year.
The president said by extension nurses are custodians of safe and healthy lives and they were in the right position to question the government where lives are put at risk, adding that the shortage of essential drugs at the medical facilities seemed to be deliberate on the part of the government. He said that the South African Development Community (SADC) has issued over the years that governments affiliated to the community should allocate a budget of 15 percent of the total national budgets to the health sectors, yet, Eswatini has allocated budgets varying between 7 and 8 percent, which has resulted in the health sector consuming more than what had been given. “This has resulted in the health ministry making orders which they could not afford to pay out,” said Mamba. He added that suppliers, most of which are sourced from outside the continent, had agreed to provide medical supplies and later on seek payment, but on realizing that Eswatini was failing to honor their obligation to pay out as agreed, stopped supplying the medication.
The president said as the leadership they have not come up with the date when they would take the government to court due to financial limitation, and in the meantime, they are busy looking at where to solicit funds. On another note, the president said they will lobby members of the public for support, in their quest to get the government to see how they will provide the essential drugs. “The public is our partner being the people we serve every-day and we will rouse them for their support,” said the president.
Quizzed on the petition sent to the PM’s office, Government Spokesperson, Sabelo Dlamini, down played the significance of the petition and said the right people to comment were officers from the ministry of health. “The issue of medical drugs is operational and can be adequately addressed by the health ministry,” said Dlamini without elaborating.
Drawn for comment, Minister of Health, Lizzie Nkosi, said she would respond later on and then hung up.
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