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Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi defends controversial vaccination partnership with Luke Commission

Tuesday, 6th April, 2021

MBABANE: Senator Lizzie Nkosi, the Minister of Health said government’s partnership with The Luke Commission will ensure the success of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Deployment Plan (NVDP).

This comes after this Swaziland News published an investigative story on Monday that suggested that The Luke Commission, a health institution linked to royalty has taken over the COVID-19 vaccination program and has deployed unprofessional health workers across the Tinkhundla centres to vaccinate the elderly.

In a press statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the Minister said partnership was one of the successful implementation of the NVDP as we raced against time in the rollout of the COVID 19 vaccine.

“In this regard, the Ministry has partnered with The Luke Commission for accelerated vaccination in the communities, based on their comparative advantage of having worked in communities providing essential care to the elderly through mobile outreach services; providing prevention and care for people living with HIV and AIDS and providing services for COVID 19 from testing to critical care services”, read the statement in part.

An independent investigation by this Swaziland News uncovered pictures where unprofessional health workers who were not in uniform were seen vaccinating elderly women, the pictures were then sent by this publication to health experts to analyse and subsequently provide an informed comment on whether the workers were qualified to vaccinate the Nation. 

On or around 23rd August 2019, the investigation unit of this publication published a story that linked Finance Minister Neal Rijikernberg, a business partner to King Mswati’s as a Director at the Luke Commission, according to documents sourced from the Registrar of Companies.

Reached for comments earlier, Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) confirmed that the vaccination exercise has been taken over by the Luke Commission, however, he said by merely looking at the pictures, it was clear that the person vaccinating the elderly was not a qualified nurse or doctor.

“What we see is very disheartening, as a country we have no regards and any sense of respect for the elderly from the highest office of government. These people are not on uniform something that is very unprofessional and it worries me if they are nurses in the first place. The skill in the person shows me that she is neither a nurse,  doctor or a health worker. It has been observed that the cold chain has been breached and never maintained something that will lead to the vaccines loosing potency. You may find that they are administering vaccines that no longer work and have no effect any more. The vaccines are preloaded, something that is not allowed when administering vaccines since they quickly loose potency”, said the Nurses Union President.

Mamba said it was surprising that Cabinet Ministers were vaccinated by professional health workers as they did not want to subject themselves to this mess.

“The whole vaccination exercise has been handed over to the Luke Commission (TLC) , an organisation. Surprisingly the whole Cabinet and Parliament did not want to subject themselves to this mess but they have all the guts to throw the elderly to this, it very sad, ” he said.

Reached for comments earlier, Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC) said Government was never serious about the lives of the people.

“Government has never been serious about the lives of the people, that is why a vaccine that was rejected in other countries is being used. We need an investigation to gather information on what the Luke Commission will benefit from this vaccination exercise. Otherwise, by gambling with the people’s lives, we feel this government has failed and must surrender power to the people”, said the NNLC President

Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi defends controversial vaccination partnership with Luke Commission
Health Minister Lizzie NkosiLizzie Nkosi(pic:Gov)