Tuesday 2019-09-17

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PHALALA PATIENTS STRANDED AS SA HOSPITALS REJECT THEM

By Mbono Mdluli | 2018-05-04

In what would come as both a shock and disappointment to a number of Emaswati, South African hospitals have stopped treating locals transferred to them through the Phalala Fund.

The problem is that government owes millions of Emalangeni to the South African health institutions.

On March 19, this year, South African health institutions are said to have stopped rendering health assistance to Emaswati under Phalala because government is said to be owing them huge sums of money.

The situation is said to be dire to most Emaswati who are banking their hopes on receiving treatment through Phalala Fund. Over 100 of Emaswati are affected by the situation as they are said to have been brought back home because of the non-payment.

Somntongo Member of Parliament Sandile Nxumalo on Wednesday confirmed that the situation was extremely bad and more Emaswati were going to die if government did not attend to this situation as a matter of urgency.

Nxumalo was speaking in his capacity as chairman of the parliament select committee that was elected towards the end of last year to probe the administration of Phalala Fund.

The committee was supposed to finish its probe in January this year, but could not due to perceived lack of cooperation between government and parliament. Nxumalo was giving an update on how they were conducting their probe into the alleged maladministration of Phalala fund.

He said they now wanted to approach the South African health institutions with an intention of pleading on behalf of the sick Emaswati to be attended to while government looked at means of settling the debts.

The MP said the South African institutions stopped providing medical assistance to Emaswati with the hope that government would act fast in negotiating for continued treatment while looking for money to settle debts.

The MPs probe team was supposed to leave on Wednesday to South Africa to negotiate with the health institutions on behalf of Emaswati. However, they did not because they were part of the parliament session in the afternoon.

Nxumalo said they were supposed to get a minute from government that would allow them go to South Africa to do the negotiations.

Efforts to get a comment from Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr. Simon Zwane were not successful.

His cell phone rang unanswered. Director of Health Dr. Vusi Magagula said the ministry would not confirm that South African health institutions had stopped providing medical assistance to Emaswati who were treated through Phalala Fund but stated that government was behind in terms of payment to the South African health institutions.

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