By ZWELETHU DLAMINI | 2019-08-18
Different departments under the ministry of health have come out to state that the lack of finances has grossly affected their operations and hindered them from providing quality health services, which puts the lives of Emaswati in danger.
According to the health ministry’s first quarter performance report, this has been seen in health facilities whose primary mandate is to provide clinical services and contribute towards the public health interventions in the communities.
Among the major challenges faced by the ministry are the shortage of drugs, delayed payment of service providers, frequent shortages of fuel and breakdown of facility transport and shortages in human resources. These are just a few of the challenges.
The shortage of drugs was reported to have been a national challenge for the ministry as all the health facilities have reported frequent drug stock-outs, which have affected the management of their patients negatively.
“While most patients were negatively affected, highly impacted patients were those on psychiatric medication, which stocked out for longer periods and those taking anti-hypertensive treatment. The main cause for stock-outs is failure to pay suppliers on time due to the fiscal challenges facing the government,” reads the report in part.
On the other hand, the delay in the payment of service providers also saw most of the health facilities running out of supplies as well as companies withdrawing their services.
Most facilities have been negatively affected by the delayed payment and subsequent withdrawal of services by service providers.
“This includes catering, security, servicing of medical equipment, immunisation, external referrals, CMIS roll-out, cleaning materials, protective supplies, etc. This has negatively affected the provision of health services, ,thus reducing the quality of patient stay at facilities.
Some of the most affected facilities are Mbabane Government Hospital and Nhlangano Health Centre, particularly with regards to catering and security,” further reads the report.
All facilities reported shortages in human resources due to delays in filling vacant posts, and failure to get additional new posts where new services have been added. Of note are the health centres, which have expanded their infrastructure and require additional nurses, doctors and anaesthetists to run the new maternity wings, including theatres.
“A total of 179 vacant positions existed at the end of March 2019. These vacant positions represent the approved government positions to be filled in 2019 and not optimal required positions by staffing norm or establishment register.
The breakdown of the vacancies includes; 19 medical or dental officers; 77 nurses or midwives and 83 allied health professionals, administrative and support staff,” further reads the report.
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