MBABANE:Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) said the E100million approved by Parliament to fight the Coronavirus never existed warning that the situation within the government hospitals was getting worse.
Speaking to this Swaziland News in an exclusive interview, Mamba clarified that the E100million was only on paper and might be turned into cash once government managed to collect taxes through the Eswatini Revenue Authority (SRA), however, he warned that as the staggering by government continues, the situation was reaching a critical stage.
“The E100million is only on paper and we were told that government was waiting for SRA to collect from taxpayers. Even if the revenue authority can collect, it might take time to raise this amount as there are other financial obligations for the country that cannot be put on-hold, so the problem is huge. The situation is getting worse in the various hospitals and might reach a critical stage without the money being made available to buy the necessary equipment. It should be noted here that we are owing the suppliers and definitely, they will demand that government pay upfront before they supply the equipment. Another major challenge is that, we might not be able to manage the situation as it reaches the critical stage because we don’t have enough quarantine space, Intensive Care Units(ICU) are less than 10 around the country with no relevant equipment. Even the Referral Hospital is just a building without the necessary equipment inside” he said.
But the nurses President mentioned that in the last few days the situation was mitigated as they were using equipment donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma but said this week, it might return to worse as they run out of protective clothing and other working tools. He warned that if action was not taken urgently, the Nation might soon witness a disaster as the country approaches the winter season.
When asked about the money meant for the King’s Birthday which Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini said would be diverted to fight the COVID-19, the SWADNU President said they knew nothing about that money as government did not come out clear about it.
“It seems that money never existed as government is not coming out clear about the figure, where and how it would be used. The only money that can assist us is the one donated by companies to the Disaster Task Force because at least it comes in cash” he said.
The nurses President noted that the country neglected the health system for too long even when funds were available and now it would be hard to quickly reach the required standards to fight the COVID-19.
“It was a major mistake for the country to ignore the health system for such a long time yet we had the money before, considering that we were able to buy a private jet for the King, Rolls Royce cars and BMWs for royalty. This shows that if we managed to utilize those resources properly, we would be like other countries who are fighting the COVID-19 with advanced health facilities” he said.
Mamba said the only option for the country now was a full lockdown as a mitigation measure to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Lubombo Referral Hospital