Mbabane: Taking leaf from other countries including the Republic of South Africa, the government looks to fumigate informal settlements. Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi said as yet they are disinfecting hospitals and clinics across the country but they do have a plan to do the same with densely populated areas like informal settlements. However, there are logistics that are to be considered in view of the chemicals used as they can be harmful especially to children and other vulnerable people. Nkosi said it must be noted that when fumigating settlements or other populated areas extra caution needs to be considered lest the COVID-19 situation is aggravated. She said like all chemicals when inhaled the COVID-19 disinfectants can cause damage to the lungs and thus exacerbate any pre-existing condition.
“We definitely have it in mind to fumigate places with high densities but we are still studying the risk analysis,” said the minister. She said they have not as yet come up with a conclusion but are considering the logistics of carrying out the exercise. Once they have exhausted their plans they would begin fumigating go door to door, said the minister. She noted that Eswatini’s situation was unique to that of other countries and despite taking a lot from other countries there was a lot to be considered. In the Eswatini set up people are ever present at informal settlements while in other countries like overseas there is an option of placing them somewhere while fumigating places, said the minister.
Informal settlements are housing areas that are often illegally built on municipal land. In Eswatini, these settlements are found in a variety of areas including the two major cities, Manzini and Mbabane, and are home to a large percentage of the country’s impoverished population. Well known densely populated informal areas in Eswatini are Msunduza (Mbabane), Ka-Khoza (Manzini), Mangozeni (Malkerns) and Mathendele (Nhlangano), to name only but a few.