MBABANE: Nurses are crying foul that government refuses to isolate them when exposed to COVID -19 yet the latter was quick to isolate cabinet ministers after one of their own tested positive to COVID-19.
This was revealed by Bheki Mamba the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union in an exclusive interview with this publication.
"We have it in authority that some of our members have been denied their right to isolate after being exposed to COVID-19. Some are recalled after few days in isolation even before they receive their results. This therefore, expose other health workers and patients to the virus. This will further strain the health system since more nurses will become sick and patients will be left idle till death" he said.
Mamba said according to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) guidelines, one needs to isolate for at least 14 days after being in contact with a COVID-19 patient. But such is not happening in the country's hospitals.
“We have been told that the Ministry issued an order that the number of nurses to be released for isolation should be as low as possible in order to keep the operations of hospitals afloat. In order to do that, the management in some hospitals usually dispute cases of nurses that were in contact with COVID-19 patients in order to refuse them the right to isolate. Some even isolated themselves without approval from management and were threatened with dismissals. It is quite saddening that Cabinet Ministers were isolated as quickly as possible after being exposed to a COVID-19 case yet we can't say the same about us” Mamba said.
The Director of Health Dr Vusi Magagula when reached for comment on the matter denied the above allegations.
“Each health facility has its own management and facility risk assessment plan that is agreed upon. Health workers who need to be isolated after being in contact with a COVID-19 patient are released by the management of that facility they are stationed. Those who claim to have been refused isolation might be having issues with their management. They know the proper channels that they need to follow when they have grievances. We cannot deny them the right to isolate since this is part of the World Health Organisation\'s (WHO) guidelines regarding the containment of COVID-19\" he said.
Mbabane Government Hospital