MBABANE: Eswatini Government is now struggling to procure quality COVID-19 vaccines and further provide working equipment for health workers after directing over E6 billion to build King Mswati’s International Convention Centre(ICC) with taxpayers money.
This comes after Senator Themba Masuku, the Acting Prime Minister announced in a press statement that government would use a budget of E200million to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, however, the country subsequently received 20 000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Government of India as a donation.
Reached for comments, Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU) confirmed that government was struggling to provide Personal Protective Clothing(PPEs) for health workers and drugs in hospitals, he warned that as the situation stands, the COVID-19 third wave will be more severe.
“Government must provide working equipment and drugs to make sure the health system is ready for the third wave. If government fails to provide an adequate budget to strengthen the health system, then the third wave will be severe” he said.
Speaking to this Swaziland News earlier, Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, the Executive Director of the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations(CANGO) expressed serious concerns that the International Convention Centre(ICC) whose costs escalated from E370million to E6billion was digging deeper into the pockets of taxpayers at the time when the country was in need of drugs and working equipment in hospitals.
“We are facing a shortage of drugs, petrol and PPEs, these are the results of the country’s debts that come with the construction of the Hotel. Government is expected to channel part of the money from SACU and taxpayers to fund the construction of the Hotel and we need to understand that unlike in the various hospitals where the shortage of working equipment results to the death of the citizens, no one could die if we could suspend pumping money into that hotel”, said the CANGO Executive Director.
Eswatini, a country ruled by King Mswati, Africa\'s last absolute Monarch has been relying on donations to fight the COVID-19 pandemic despite that the Head of State was named by Forbes as one of the richest Kings in the world.
The country recently received AstraZeneca vaccines as a donation from India, Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi has urged the public to register for vaccination despite international reports suggesting that other European countries have suspended its use amid reports that it was causing blood clots.
The Minister shared these sentiments shortly after receiving another batch of 12 000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine from the global COVAX facility with the assistance of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef).
“The media reports usually focus on a single incident, we need tangible scientific evidence in order to link such incidents to this AstraZeneca vaccine. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centres for Disease Control encourage us to use this vaccine as it works against the virus, taking the vaccine will prevent a lot of Emaswati from being admitted to hospitals for a lengthy period and further reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths. Our aim as a country and the Ministry of Health is to save more lives in the midst of the pandemic,” she said.
The King\'s International Convention Centre