Mbabane: The biggest sickbay in the country, Mbabane Government Hospital is allegedly charging patients despite lack of services.
Before rendering services, patients are required to pay E10.00 after-which they are issued with a hospital fee receipt which is attached to an Out-Patient Record/Prescription sheet.
It was also reliably gathered that some of the machinery at the hospital is said to be dysfunctional and patients are told to return at a later date when the machines would have been fixed and on doing that they are told to pay up again.
One particular machine that is said to be breaking down quite often is the medical scanner which is used to take pictures of the human body, which healthcare professionals use to evaluate and assist in the diagnosis of a disease state. A patient who preferred anonymity mentioned that her pregnancy was so complicated that she sought the attention of the hospital where a doctor booked her in for the scanning of her body but it had broken down.
“However, when I got to the scanning section, with the necessary paperwork, including the payment slip, I was told that the scanner was broken and that I had to return at a later date,” said the patient, adding that the medical personnel at the scanning section promised to give her a call once the machine was fixed. “When I received the call and told to come to the hospital I was asked to pay up again,” said the disgruntled patient.
“I was alarmed because earlier on I had paid up for the services,” said the source. When she enquired how it was that she could pay up for the second time she was told it was government policy that if services are not provided there and there the patient would have to pay again.
The source said she wondered how such could be allowed to happen because all she knew was that government only paid for services done.
Contacted for a comment, Director of Health, Dr. Vusi Magagula said such an anomaly was against government procedure and should be dealt with accordingly.
He said patients that need treatment at the hospital are required to pay once and for all and it doesn’t matter that at the time there may be no provision of services. “How is it that a payment can be made for the second time if the fault is on the part of the hospital?” asked Magagula, adding that patients should definitely be catered for on their initial payment. He said it was shocking to hear that money was being taken from patients without any provision of treatment and that such an issue would be investigated by his department and those responsible be taken to task.
Some machinery that are said to be quite often breaking down at the hospital are:
Suction machine: which is a medical device used to remove different types of secretions including liquid or gaseous secretions from the body cavity. It is based on the principle of vacuuming.
Suction may be used to clear the airway of blood, saliva, vomit, or other secretions so that a patient may breathe properly. In pulmonary hygiene, suction is used to remove fluids from the airways, to facilitate breathing and prevent growth of microorganisms. Suctioning can prevent pulmonary aspiration, which can lead to lung infections.
Anesthesia machine: which is the anesthetic machine or anesthesia machine used by physician anesthesiologists to support the administration of anesthesia.
Temporary Casualty Waiting Area inhabitable
The temporary casualty waiting area next to the mortuary at the Mbabane Government Hospital is in such inhabitable condition that patients risk re-infection. A visit to the section revealed an untidy structure with dirty running water, which seems to flow from inside the mortuary situated adjacent to the section. Also, around the section are over grown weeds on mushy ground. To worsen matters, patients are made stand on their feet while waiting to see the doctors as there are no chairs or benches on which to sit. “We stand the whole day while waiting to see the doctors which puts a heavy strain on our bodies considering that we are already sickly,” said patient found standing at the section.
Director of Health, Vusi Magagula said he was aware that the temporary area was in a rundown condition that should not serve as a waiting area especially for sick and infected patients. He agreed that the state of the area could serve to re-infect those waiting to be attended by the medical personnel. “I personally engaged the hospital’s management on the state of the section and arrangements have since been made to give it a face lift appropriate for its use,” said the director. He said they have engaged Micro-projects Eswatini which has started to work on restoring the section.
Medical Staff Rude
Patients who preferred not to be mentioned confided to Independent News that the medical personnel at the Mbabane Government Hospital is rude to patients that a lot of them have vowed not to return for services. Posing as a patient, a reporter from Independent News paid the hospital a visit and he could attest that the assertions on the part of the patients was nothing but the truth. Despite waiting for the whole day for services the patients are treated as mediocrities, shouted at and given an evil eye. A patient resident in Mbabane stated that he has opted to find alternative treatment centers all to avoid exacerbating his chronic illness due to the insolent behavior of the medical personnel at the government hospital. “I have resolved to change course and find a better place for treatment or else I may make my condition worse that what it is,” said *Ncono.
The health director, Vusi Magagula said he would engage the hospital’s management and find how the patients are treated at the hospital, but without mentioning if they would hold the alleged culprits accountable. Asked if the alleged culprits would be subjected to disciplinary measures once found responsible, such as transferring them to other centers he said relocating wayward personnel to other health centers would be the same as taking a problem from one place to another which would be far from dealing with it (problem). He said there were other measures which are meted out to unruly medical officers like dismissing them from the profession.