Swaziland (eSwatini) has sent an urgent plea to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for help in getting through the coronavirus crisis as deaths continue to rise.
Swazi Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi has written requesting for an International Emergency Medical Team to work in the kingdom for at least four weeks.
She said Swaziland needed critical care physicians, critical care nurses, biomedical technicians and epidemiologists. She wanted people in place by 15 January 2021.
She said the kingdom faced unprecedented public health challenges because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Swaziland was going through a second wave and the number of deaths was double that of the first wave.
On Wednesday (13 January 2021) she announced a further 13 deaths bringing the total so far to 332. According to official Ministry of Health figures, there have been a total of 12,124 positive cases since the crisis started. The population of Swaziland is about 1.1 million people.
In her letter to the WHO Nkosi wrote, 'The high number of new cases has resulted in health systems that are now overstretched, including a severe shortage of oxygen supply to the people who need it. The second wave is also resulting in more client admissions as a majority of the clients are presenting with symptoms, which rapidly progress to severe and critical illness. Furthermore, the capacity to manage critically ill patients is not adequate in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of patients presenting with severe illness.'
She added, 'The country now has 11 COVID-19 treatment centres, nine public and two private with a total bed capacity of 437. Bed occupancy rate is rising every week. The country has 29 beds for critical care with all 29 occupied, giving an occupancy rate of 100 percent.'