Saturday 2021-07-31




By Zwelihle Sukati | 2020-06-27

Government was forced to run from pillar to post and put together funds to pay one of its many owed suppliers in a bid to remedy a situation that was slowly getting out of control.

It was not a good week for patients at the Mbabane Government Hospital, as patients claim they had to go to sleep on empty stomachs because there was allegedly no food served on wednesday. However, the catering company contracted to the hospital said government was then quick to intervene and remedy the situation by paying them part of the money owed to them.

They were also quick to clarify that the only time they could not serve food to the patients was on Thursday, and that was breakfast only.

However, information gathered by the Saturday Observer is that patients were hard hit by hunger pains since Wednesday, until Thursday when they were finally served rice and what appeared to be soya mince soup.

The patients had to take medication on empty stomachs because there was no food on the day,” said a caretaker, found with others at the ward corridors. “We haven’t been informed as to what led to the situation but what we have established from some nurses is that there kitchen was short of food supply.”

This publication understands that the patients were starved because government had not paid its part since the catering company assumed its contractual obligations to serve food at the hospital. “Since April, the beginning of the government’s financial year, government had not been paying the service providers to such an extent that the catering company coffers couldn’t provide anymore from its depleted resources,” according to an inside source, however, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One of the patients even said she thought the sun was taking forever to rise because of hunger. “I had only banana for supper and woke up in the middle of the night starving,” said the young lady, who could only identify herself as Bongekile. The catering company contracted to the Mbabane Government Hospital is Capitol Caterers. Mbhuti Dlamini, who is Director Operations, confirmed only having issues with providing for Thursday’s breakfast.

“We had an issue with sources of payment to deliver, but that has since been resolved,” he said yesterday. Dlamini laughed it out when responding about patients being finally served rice and soup for supper on Thursday.

“That cannot be true. As much as we had challenges with our source of payment, we are professional enough not to serve our clients rice and soup.” He said they always know what to do and where to pull when faced with such a situation “and therefore it is not true that patients slept on an empty stomach on Wednesday”.

Not only admitted patients faced a crises this week but outpatients.

Nurses are said to have withdrawn from attending to patients following the arrival of two COVID-19 suspected patients at the Outpatient Department (OPD). It is said the nurses protested about the area being highly infectious.

They said they were not going to place their lives at risk as they did not have personal protective equipment.

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