Swaziland's health sector grinding to a halt

Ongoing public servant strike in southern African country takes its toll on health care industry.

    Striking medical staff and depleting medical supplies are severely affecting Swaziland's health sector. 

    Poorly resourced, the health care system has been further impacted by a reduced number of medical staff at work and a shortage of drugs. 

    Civil servants including teachers and medical staff have been striking for over a month demanding a pay raise of 4.5 per cent, but authorities are refusing to increase their salaries.

    Al Jazeera's, Haru Mutasa secretly captured footage from inside Mbabane general hospital, where she found that medical staff had not arrived and the hospital's dispensary was running out of drugs.

    Many people are even turning to traditional medicine rather than the more costly western medicine from the local pharmacy.

    The government, one of Africa's last absolute monarchs, says that they cannot afford the pay raise. Instead, they have given the striking public workers a Monday deadline to get return to work, or be fired.

    However, the strikers say they will not return to work until their demands are met.

    They blame the country's problems on the state-funded extravagance of King Mswati, rated by Forbes magazine as among the world's richest royals, and his refusal to implement democratic reforms.

    More than 60 per cent of the country's 1.1 million people live on less than two dollars a day.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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