200 Million SZL is too little for country with the population of 1.4 million
Mbabane: It seems that to this far, the Covid-19 donations are but a drop in the ocean!
The Resource Mobilization Committee which is tasked with soliciting funds for the fight against the novel coronavirus has to date raised a little over 200 000 000 SZL (US$ 11, 067 764, 00) to fight the unrelenting virus also called Covid-19. However, the Director of Health in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Vusi Magagula has deemed the contributions too meagre to fight the pandemic whose record shows 12 confirmed positive cases to date. “A lot is involved with the control of the virus, and estimates show that close to 2 billion SZL (US$ 11, 067 764, 00) is needed,” said Magagula.
A range of 60-100 tests per day will be conducted at the National Reference Lab in Mbabane, which is now being designated as the Covid-19 testing facility.
He made mention of basic equipment like the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the use by health and social care workers, who come in big numbers across the four regions of the country. Hospitals support staff like security personnel are not to be left out since they work in close proximity to the Covid-19 cases and they need equipment like facemasks and gloves which are to be removed and disposed once used.
“All activities pertaining to the fight against the virus require some measure of training like how and when to don and doff protective equipment, all which come at a cost,” said the health director. Part of the training will also require video footages and conferencing, and while at it staff on training will need to be fed. Travelling to and fro places of need also come at a cost. Magagula mentioned that the fact that equipment like gloves and aprons are subject to single use with disposal after each patient or resident contact, will require more purchases which will call for availability of funds. Equipment includes but not limited to fluid surgical masks, eye protections, gowns (worn for a session of work in higher risk areas), and hand hygiene which are subject to single use as per Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) with disposal. Others, said the director, are respirators, fluid-resistant surgical masks (FRSM), and long sleeved disposable fluid repellent gowns. “These will have to come in bulk and surely not at low costs,” said the director.
“Enhanced respiratory protective equipment is required for health and social care workers in the event the country is faced with the highest risk of transmission of this respiratory virus,” said Magagula.
Long-sleeved disposable fluid repellent gowns, which cover the arms and body, filtering face piece class 3 (FFP3) respirators, a full-face shield or visor and gloves are recommended during Spray Generating Procedures (SGP) on possible and confirmed cases, regardless of the clinical setting.
Magagula told this publication that they would appreciate more funds to the Resource Mobilization Committee whose chairman is Eswatini Sugar Association (ESA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Phil Mnisi, which would enable the ministry to purchase the necessary resources and equipment.
IMF, WORLD BANK, AfDB
One of the local newspapers, the Times of Eswatini
reported that economists had proposed that minister of finance, Neil Rijkenberg
approach financial institutions and seek about 1 billion SZL to fund the fight
against the coronavirus and also sustain the economy during this period of
To this, the minister acknowledged that the country was already engaging some of its financial partners in seeking assistance. He said some of the financiers that government was engaging with were the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
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