Swaziland Nurses Give Govt One Month to Solve Drugs Shortage or They Strike

Nurses in Swaziland/eSwatini have given government four weeks to solve the drugs shortage crisis in the kingdom or they will call a nationwide strike.

This was stated at a protest march where petitions were handed into the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister's Office on Friday (21 June 2019).

Swaziland, ruled by absolute monarch King Mswati III, has been short of medicines in public hospitals for more than a year. The government, which is not elected but handpicked by the King, is broke and has not paid suppliers. Media in Swaziland reported people, including children, have died because of the shortages.

President of the Eswatini Nurses Association Bhekie Mamba told the Observer on Saturday newspaper in Swaziland that government had lied in the past when it said medical supplies were being sent to hospitals and clinics.

Nurses also want government to prioritise hiring of nurses and for health care to be adequately financed.

The Observer quoted the nurses association's Second Deputy Secretary Neliso Matsenjwa saying, 'if this is not done in the next four weeks, we shall render the health sector unworkable'.

Last week psychiatric nurses in Swaziland said say they might release patients from their clinic because there were no drugs to subdue them after supplies ran out and they feared for their own safety.

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