MBABANE: Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) has warned that over 300 000 HIV+ citizens remain at high risk as government might soon run short of Antiretroviral (ARVs).
Speaking to this Swaziland News in an exclusive interview on Friday morning, the nurses President said these ARVs are now used to boost the immune system of COVID-19 patients, he warned of a looming crisis that might result to massive deaths of HIV+ patients as government might soon run short of these drugs. He maintained that in the absence of medication cure to the COVID-19, the solution was to have sufficient drugs to treat all patients suffering from other diseases like diabetes, asthma to boost their immune system so it can remain strong and resist the virus.
“As we mentioned earlier that the situation might become worse particularly because we were surviving with donations. As we speak, the various hospitals have run out of medication to treat other diseases and the COVID-19 test kits. The Ministry of Health has taken a decision to test only those with COVID-19 symptoms and this suggests that the country will now struggle to identify those who were infected until they start showing COVID-19 symptoms and those people will continue spreading the virus. This is a clear indication that as country, we are now breaching guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) to test people who had contacts with positive patients. As we speak, most health care workers were infected, this include the over 10 laboratory staff who tested positive. Furthermore, three wards at Mbabane Government Hospital are non-functional because some nurses tested positive while some are on isolation within their homes. This then suggests our health facilities will soon be grounded as the crisis escalate” he said.
The nurses President urged government to pump money in the health sector and buy Personal Protective Clothing (PPEs) including testing kits instead of waiting for donated material. He further warned that the opening of schools as indicated by the Ministry of Education will escalate the crisis.
“As we prepare for the opening of schools, the crisis will escalate because there is a high possibility that the children will be infected in schools. As health experts, when we analyze the situation in various schools, we can see that all the COVID-19 preventive measures will not be adopted as government indicated that there is no budget to fund all the equipment needed to create a safe and conducive environment. This means, no sanitizers will be supplied by government to all the schools but only water tanks for the children to wash their hands and it is practically impossible for them to wash their hands regularly in large numbers. We want to also warn the Nation that the opening of schools will escalate the COVID-19 crisis and the health facilities will not manage the situation. As we speak, the Mavuso Health Centre is now full including the Lubombo Referral Hospital, there are plans to identify another facility” said the nurses President.
This publication forwarded questions to Dr Simon Zwane, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health on the matter, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Mbabane Government Hospital