By Bodwa Mbingo | 2018-09-08
At least three deaths occurred at the Mbabane Government Hospital this week, with two of them happening at the maternity ward.
Nurses are currently on strike and there is no one to assist patients, especially women that are giving birth at the hospital.
The Observer on Saturday has it in good authority that a child passed away during birth on Tuesday with its mother left to bleed profusely after the ordeal.
The birth was complicated and the child could not make it as there was no assistance during the birth with nurses engaged on a go-slow strike.
According to a relative, the mother had to later be discharged in her trying condition as she was getting no assistance from any nurse. She is believed to be currently recuperating at her home in Dlangeni, according to the relative.
“My cousin was left to bleed profusely during birth while she also lost her child. She is now at home and I fear for the worst as she is now not even picking up her mobile phone. I still have to travel to Dlangeni to check on her,” disclosed the mother’s relative.
It was also gathered that another would-be mother died while giving birth at the same maternity ward. She is a teacher by profession.
At least one person died in the casualty ward on Thursday as the only nurse on duty was left to take care of all the patients on her own without any assistance.
It can also be reported that all operations at the government hospital were halted except at the casualty department, pending the nurses’ strike. Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) President Bheki Mamba, speaking when addressing nurses after delivering a petition to Public Service Principal Secretaty Evart Madlopha yesterday, stated that they are not happy with the deaths in hospitals, especially just because there are no drugs at the various health centres.
“We’re seriously not happy with many Emaswati losing their lives because government cannot provide drugs in hospitals. We’re saddened that people die before us and we are left with nothing to save their lives.
The fact that nurses are concerned about the deaths is shown today by them coming in their numbers to be part of delivering the petition to the public service PS,” he said to great applause from the attending nurses before they departed to their various destinations.
Baton breaks as nurses, cops clash
A police officer saw his baton break into two pieces while he was trying to control nurses from marching on their way to deliver a petition through one of the streets of Mbabane.
There was a brief confrontation between the nurses and members of the police service, which resulted in pushing and shoving as the police blocked the march by the nurses.
That is when one of the police officers saw his baton broken into two pieces after a shoving by the nurses. Marching by the nurses started from the park next to the ministry of agriculture and they went all the way towards the ministry of health headquarters.
During the confrontation with the police officers, the nurses asked why they were being blocked yet they had permission to hold the march.
The police officers wanted the nurses to use the shortest route to the ministry of public service which is between the Swaziland National Fire and Emergency Services building and ministry of agriculture. Pleas by the police officers fell on deaf ears as the nurses shoved them aside and managed to take the longer route. They went on to block cars at the intersection next to Total Gardens filling station. Journalists on the ground were also on the receiving end of the angry police officer who called them young boys while walking with his broken baton. This was when one of the journalists enquired about what had happened to his baton and he rudely told him to go and ask the nurses.
“I don’t take kindly to young boys mocking me. You are not being nice to me. Just don’t make me a fool and mind your own business,” said the police officer before walking away. On another note, police officers managed to successfully block the nurses from entering other government offices including the one at the ministry of health, the police headquarters, Correctional Services while officers from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) blocked them from entering the Mbabane Government Hospital during the march.
More is coming - Nurses’ president
If a hint dropped by nurses’ leadership is anything to go by then the nation should be very worried.
More is coming from local nurses.
This was a hint that was given by Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) President Bheki Mamba when addressing the nurses before they dispersed yesterday. Mamba said the upcoming activities would not be aired in public, but would be communicated to the nurses appropriately through their branch leaders.
This was after a briefly convened meeting by the SWADNU national executive committee (NEC) next to the ministry of agriculture. “Following a meeting of the NEC to discuss the weekend’s logistics, which we will not announce here in public, they will be communicated to you nurses through your branches. On Monday the National General Council is meeting in Manzini. The meeting will further inform the process going forward. There are things that will happen going forward and you will get the proper communication,” he stated.
The president also highlighted that while the country celebrated 50/50 marking 50 years of independence from British colonial rule and His Majesty King Mswati III’s birthday, cancer patients are dying because they cannot be referred to South Africa for treatment.
He said government is not willing to meet their executive committee and failure to do so will result in them returning with all the nurses to force the ministry of public service to meet their demands.
Nurses vow to bring mental patients to Evart Madlopha
Nurses are willing to pull all stops to get the attention of government, particularly Public Service Principal Secretary Evart Madlopha.
One of the nurses yesterday disclosed that next time they travel to Mbabane to meet Madlopha. they would take with them patients from the psychiatric centre.
The nurse said they are not watchmen for these patients and, therefore, there is nothing they can do to assist them since there are no drugs at the psychiatric centre at Zakhele in Manzini.
He said it is better, therefore, to take the patients with them to Madlopha to see the state they are in at the moment.
“The next time we come here we will be bringing patients with us.
We will start with those from psychiatric centre as we are left helpless in attending to them with no drugs to fix their state. Coming with them will prove to government the dire state we are currently in at the various hospitals and health centres,” he stated, on the sidelines of the march by the nurses as they delivered a petition to Madlopha yesterday.
In a nutshell, the nurses are complaining that government, particularly the public service ministry, is failing to meet their executive committee for negotiations as they push for a Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA) in their salaries.
We’ll respond to demands – Evart
Public Service Principal Secretary (PS) Evart Madlopha stated that government would respond earnestly to the fresh demands that were delivered by nurses yesterday.
Madlopha, speaking when addressing the nurses, stated that as government they were aware of the nurses’ demands and would respond to them.
He said just like they had responded to the petition that the nurses delivered on August 29, they would also respond to the one they delivered yesterday. He said the issues that have been raised would be discussed at relevant forums.
“We met on the issues, but we had no mandate for the deadlock hence we asked that we go back to our principals to seek the mandate. The issues on the table are being worked on and we’re working towards obtaining the mandate. We thank you nurses for delivering the petition and we have noticed that there are new things that have been raised now. We will write to you soon in responding to the new petition,” he said.
Nurses demand more posts
Nurses in the country want government to do away with the circular that stipulates that there will be no more hiring and promotions in government due to the bad state of the country’s economy that has resulted in the public purse being dry.
They are also threatening government with a full-blown strike action if their demands are not being met.
In a petition they delivered to Public Service Principal Secretary (PS) Evart Madlopha yesterday, the nurses demanded the creation of posts for nurses and other healthcare workers, a function that directly rests with the ministry.
They demanded that government does away with the circular that froze the appointment of new nurses.
“The Swaziland Nurses Association representing more than 4 000 nurses in the country resolved to come and deliver once more a petition to demand a meeting to discuss the contents of the petition delivered on the 29th August 2018. Failure to adhere to these demands will result in a strike action, as all mechanisms of resolving our disputes are being taken away by government,” further read the petition that was communicated by Secretary General Sibusiso Lushaba before being handed over to the PS.
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